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