BIRCH has partnered with Bowen Island Municipality to develop a community rental housing project on a portion of lot 3 of the community lands. The project will provide 25± units of secure rental housing for Bowen Island Community Members; units will be in a variety of sizes from studios, up to 3 bed family units (to be confirmed as we move through the phases of the project and secure funding). The building will be approx. 25,000 sq.ft., in a 4 story building (pending approval of a variance).
The goals of the project are to: -provide 25± secure rental units for Bowen Island Community Members on part of the community lands. -have plans and funding in place by mid to late 2019; with construction beginning in 2020 and completing in 2022. -have BIRCH act as developer and manager, using community land under a low-cost, long-term lease, making the most of current government funding opportunities. -keep Bowen a vibrant and diverse community, by providing units of diverse sizes, at rents affordable to those living and working on island. -fill a gap in the housing market, that is not being met by the private developers. -be creative and innovative in design, energy efficiency and use of resources.
HOW WILL THIS PROJECT BENEFIT THE COMMUNITY?
As stated throughout the Official Community Plan and recent Island Plans we want to keep Bowen a vibrant and diverse community. To achieve this, we must have diverse and affordable housing options. Our proposed rental housing will meet the needs of many struggling to find suitable rentals, as well as helping local businesses attract and retain staff.
WHERE IS THE PROPOSED LOCATION?
In summer 2019 BIRCH and Bowen Island Municipality signed an agreement to lease on a 0.15ha site on lot 3 of the community lands. This location is on Miller Road, adjacent to the proposed firehall and health centre. The subdivision of the site is underway and anticipated to be complete in March 2020.
WHERE ARE YOU UP TO AND WHAT ARE NEXT STEPS?
Working with our development consultant – CitySpaces – and with funding from the VanCity Community Foundation and the Bowen Island Community Foundation, we completed our feasibility study and financial plan in August 2019. With this stage complete, we are moving to our next phase: Schematic Design. We have received CMHC seed funding of $28,000, with an additional $29,000 from the VanCity Foundation to proceed.
BIRCH is very please to announce we have engaged Boni Maddison Architects! This firms brings decades of experience in designing projects for BC Housing and non profit societies. We are very excited to have them on the team!
Next steps are completing schematic design of the building, and a more detailed business plan. Then we plan to apply for government funding in Spring 2020.
HOW WILL THIS PROJECT ENGAGE WITH THE COMMUNITY?
We have formed a Community Engagement Committee (BARC), that is an ongoing part of the planning process. The committee is made up of representatives from the community, from varied backgrounds. The goal of this committee is to ensure community input on the project and gather ideas and perspectives from a variety of people, with a variety of backgrounds.
There will be further opportunities for the community to engage as the project progresses. This project is for Bowen Islanders, present and future, and they should have a say in what it will be.
There is also the possibility of collaborations, such as gardens, art installations, etc for the project, so we would be looking to explore those opportunities in the near future.
Have more questions? You can use our contact page to get in touch. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can.