Well Water License granted

As of April, 2021, the Provincial department FLNRO, Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, granted Dragonfly Commons a Groundwater License for the use of our well-water for 30 homes. After an exhaustive amount of research and water studies by FLNRO and two hydrogeologists, it was determined that the amount of water needed is amply supplied by our two wells, and, at that usage, there would be no impact on the neighbouring wells, nor on the aquifer. We had to stop this housing project because the Water Licensing process took four years, rather than the two year time-frame that we had anticipated. These are the types of delays and complications that make affordable housing so difficult to accomplish.

Dragonfly Commons – changing from home ownership to rental

It has been a busy month working to create affordable housing on Salt Spring.

After a year of exploring what is required to put a water system in place for Dragonfly Commons, we have come to the conclusion that we cannot continue on the path we are on.  We find it necessary to change the model of Dragonfly Commons from home ownership to rental.
The Water Sustainability Act which was instituted in 2016 makes it virtually impossible to create a subdivision in a rural area where there is not a Water Utility in place to supply water.  Unfortunately due to the moratorium on new hook ups imposed by North Salt Spring Waterworks, we fall into that category.
The Act, administered by FLNRO, requires that any new subdivision with more than three owners from a single water source must operate as a Water Utility or a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) .  The requirements to become a CPCN are extremely onerous, starting with a deposit of $500,000 – $2,000,000 and continuing with extremely demanding as well as expensive management and reporting requirements.
These are the same requirements that a water system supplying a city such as Vancouver or Victoria would be expected to meet.  They are currently treating four hook ups the same as four million with no flexibility.  It is likely that in the future this will change but for the foreseeable future our project and other small projects trying to produce affordable home-ownership are quashed.
Fortunately we do have an alternative – and that is to go from home ownership to rental.  This will allow us to avoid the CPCN requirements because, even though there would be 30 homes, they would be owned by one entity.  There are still water challenges to overcome but we feel they are manageable.
Even though we are sad to abandon the idea of affordable home ownership for workers there are advantages to pursuing affordable workforce rental accommodations.  First of all, they are needed every bit as much and secondly, there are far more grants available which will mean that they will be even more affordable.  Another advantage is that the homes would be a secure long-term rental situation, without the worry of a landlord selling.  Finally there is the advantage of not requiring to subdivide the property which should speed things up.
With this change and the support that we are receiving from the Islands Trust we feel that it is not unreasonable to be able to commence construction in the spring of 2019.
Tami and Fernando Dos Santos

on behalf of Dragonfly Commons Housing Society

 

Parc Meeting – Monday, April the 16th at 5:00 pm at the Portlock portable

Unfortunately we have run into a roadblock with the CRD PARC Commission which does not appear to grasp the seriousness of the housing crisis and the difficulty of providing affordable housing.  They have steadfastly refused to accept our 50% land donation and have voted to make us pay $15,000 in cash-in-lieu of land.  Thankfully CRD Director Wayne McIntyre does not agree with the Commission and has put the matter back on the Agenda for them to reconsider the matter this Monday, April the 16th at 5:00 pm at the Portlock portable.  We have been added to their agenda as a delegation and will be trying to get them to reverse their decision.  We do not believe that they are in tune with the community and if they truly support affordable housing, as they purport to do, they should not be asking us to contribute money when we are more than ready to contribute land.  If you have time, please feel free to attend the meeting and show your support.

Our email update letter

Hello Everyone,

     It has been a while since we updated you and quite a bit has been happening and we have news on a number of fronts.
     We believe that the consciousness with regard to affordable housing is starting to change, it is not enough to say that you support affordable housing, you must do something about it.
     In that regard we want to applaud the Islands Trust’s decision to refund our $5,500 rezoning application fee through their EC Sponsorship program.  As well as their decision to appoint Stefan Cermak as our planner, which was necessary as a result of the unexpected retirement of our previous planner, Rob Milne.  We really appreciate the fact that our Trustees have been championing this project and Peter Grove, in particular, has gone above and beyond to help us.
     We are continuing to work to find a way to donate approximately half of the 10.53 acres of the Dragonfly development for use as a community park.  Due to its proximity to Ganges and its natural beauty, it would make a great addition to the Island’s trail network.  We have been in contact with the SSI Trail and Nature Club and they are quite excited at the potential of the property and ready to help maintain it.
     Unfortunately we have run into a roadblock with the CRD PARC Commission which does not appear to grasp the seriousness of the housing crisis and the difficulty of providing affordable housing.  They have steadfastly refused to accept our 50% land donation and have voted to make us pay $15,000 in cash-in-lieu of land.  Thankfully CRD Director Wayne McIntyre does not agree with the Commission and has put the matter back on the Agenda for them to reconsider the matter this Monday, April the 16th at 5:00 pm at the Portlock portable.  We have been added to their agenda as a delegation and will be trying to get them to reverse their decision.  We do not believe that they are in tune with the community and if they truly support affordable housing, as they purport to do, they should not be asking us to contribute money when we are more than ready to contribute land.  If you have time, please feel free to attend the meeting and show your support.
     We have also been quite involved with the Housing Council initiative to bring together all of the stakeholders in the affordable housing sphere on Salt Spring to publicize the severity of the housing crisis.  They have a wonderful volunteer publicist, Jason Mogus; also Rhonan Heitzmann has really taken up the fight to help with affordable housing including a new column in the Driftwood highlighting the housing crisis.  We also want to thank Robin Williams who has been working tirelessly to help us with our project and to help advance affordable housing on Salt Spring.
     Tami and I have also decided to help Norm Elliott with his Norton Road Project.  We have gotten to know Norm over the years as a result of the indoor tennis facility which was built by Norm’s company.  He generously donated $14,000 to the first building and has now decided to donate $200,000 to the second building.  He is an extremely generous person and has helped many organizations on Salt Spring, including a $200,000 donation to GIFTS Gulf Island Families Together Society which is a group which helps people with developmental disabilities.
     Norm is extremely frustrated with his project and was ready to quit so we decided to help him and are in the process of getting up to speed trying to figure out what needs to happen to move it forward.  Hopefully that will be one more source of affordable housing in the foreseeable future.
     That is all for now, if you have any questions please contact us for more information.

Tami and Fernando Dos Santos

Dragonfly Commons Housing Society
An Affordable Neighbourhood on Salt Spring Island

New Housing Council website:

The Salt Spring Housing Council has a new and updated website here – and there is a page for Dragonfly Commons here.

The Housing Council is an organization that supports and advocates for affordable housing in our community:  “We recognize that affordable housing is a cornerstone of community sustainability and quality of life”. 

We, at Dragonfly, have been quite involved with the Housing Council initiative to bring together all of the stakeholders in the affordable housing sphere on Salt Spring to publicize the severity of the housing crisis.  They have a wonderful volunteer publicist, Jason Mogus; also Rhonan Heitzmann has really taken up the fight to help with affordable housing including a new column in the Driftwood highlighting the housing crisis.

 

 

 

Fernando to speak at the next Community Alliance meeting

March 26th (7 to 9 pm) Lions Hall
Doors @ 6:30 pm 

Over the past few months, both Fernando and Tami have attended a number of the Salt Spring Island Community Alliance meetings in order to represent Dragonfly Commons and to speak about affordable housing in general.

Next Monday, March 26th, the Alliance meeting will spotlight “Drake Road Affordable Housing”.
Excerpt from their website:

Kisae Petersen and Fernando dos Santos will join the Alliance, for our March meeting to contribute their knowledge to our conversation about Drake Road affordable housing.
Kisae Petersen, Salt Spring Island Housing Council Chair, Director of Housing for Island Women Against violence (who are working hard to develop new affordable housing at Croftonbrook.)
and
Fernando and Tami Dos Santos, are spearheading a local not-for-profit initiative – Dragonfly Commons – to bring about an innovative solution to our local workforce housing crisis on Drake Road.
As well as others who will specifically address the local issues regarding affordable housing.

We are encouraged by the support for affordable housing from this group.  Consider attending this meeting to show your interest in housing.

For more information about the Community Alliance, check out their website:  http://sscommunityalliance.org/

or find them on Facebook.