This past summer Bowen Island Resilient Community Housing (BIRCH) conducted our second community housing survey. Like our last survey in 2019, we asked the Bowen community about the current housing situation and for feedback on our proposed housing project. In this most recent survey we have also asked how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the housing situation on Bowen Island.

The survey results summarized in this post will help guide BIRCH as we progress towards the development of non-market affordable rental housing here on Bowen Island. We would like to thank everyone who completed the survey.

Key Takeaways

Similar to the survey we conducted in May 2019, the majority of respondents were middle age, with two-thirds of all responses coming from those between the ages of 50 and 79. We received no survey responses from those under 20, six responses from those between 20-34 and only 3 responses from those 80 years old and above. It is important to note that while these groups may be under represented in the findings summarized below they remain important members of the Bowen community, with unique housing concerns that must be considered.

  • Respondents from all household income levels expressed concern about housing affordability and availability on Bowen Island.
  • Almost all respondents (97%) indicated that their concerns about housing affordability and availability have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • While the majority of respondents indicated that their current housing is suitable in the near-term, many had significant longer-term concerns about their ability to age in place safely.
  • Consistent with the 2019 survey results, below-market rental remains the highest priority housing tenure type, with almost half of all respondents (47%) identifying it as their top priority.
  • There is a significant interest in exploring more unconventional housing types such as mobile and manufactured homes, as well as “tiny homes”, located on either leasehold pads or non-permanent foundations.