FAQ

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General FAQs

What is “Affordable Housing”?

According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) housing is considered to be affordable when a household spends less than 30% of its pre-tax income on adequate shelter. Households that spend more than 30% of their income on adequate shelter are deemed to be in core housing need.

Why does Galiano need affordable housing?

With rental and real estate prices increasing far faster than wages, more and more individuals, couples and families find themselves unable to afford secure, quality housing, even with what would once have been considered a decent living wage. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation states that “Affordable housing can promote self-sufficiency, and help households move along the housing continuum.”

How much affordable housing is needed on Galiano?

The CRD’s 2018 “Housing Needs Assessment – Southern Gulf Islands”, identified Galiano as needing approximately 70 units of long-term affordable rental housing. The 20 proposed homes at the Galiano Green site would make up 29% of the assessed need.

How is Rent Geared to Income, (RGI), calculated?

RGI is calculated at 30% of total gross household income.

What are “Affordable Market Rates”?

Affordable Market Rates are rents equal to, or lower than, average rates in the local private-market. 

What is an accessible unit?

An accessible unit is one built to meet accessibility standards set out in the provincial building code for residents requiring barrier free wheelchair access.

What is the difference between “secure housing” and “affordable housing”?

Secure Housing refers to security of tenure. With secure housing, unlike in the private rental market, residents in good standing will never face eviction due to their home being sold, an owner or family member moving in, “renovictions” in order to increase rent or other owner driven factors beyond their control.

Galiano Green FAQs

Will rents for all 20 units be subsidized?

Our funding partners may mandate specific ratios of units. For example, BC Housing mandates that at least 70% of rents be subsidized. If GALI receives funding from BC housing, we will follow their formula of 20% deep subsidy, 50% rental geared to income, (RGI), rates, and 30% affordable market rates.

Will any accessible units be included?

Four units, (20% of the total number of units), are proposed to meet accessibility standards set out in the provincial building code for residents requiring barrier free wheelchair access.  Our design will also consider incorporating adaptable accessibility features into some of the larger family oriented units to accommodate family members with mobility challenges.

What other amenities will be provided?

We plan to include amenities such as laundry facilities, gardens, shared garden equipment, and a children’s play area. We will also explore funding for possible car and bike shares.

How will tenants be selected?

GALI is in the process of applying for funding from BC housing. If we are successful, applicants will be considered according to BC Housing guidelines.

How will the property be maintained?

GALI will continue in the role of property management and will employ a caretaker to ensure that standards are kept up and that the site and buildings remain in good condition for all residents.

Why build at the Galiano Green property and at the community forest location?

There are currently two affordable housing projects being proposed on Galiano. GALI is proposing to build 20 homes on the Galiano Green site, while GIGARHS (Gulf Islands Galisle Affordable Rental Housing Society), proposes building 12 homes at 1663 Georgia View Road within the area of the Community Forest designated as suitable for Affordable Housing. The two initiatives are complementary, not competitive. These two projects combined, if completed, will only provide 32 of the identified 70 secure and affordable homes needed right now on Galiano. The two societies share the common purpose of building and managing comfortable, secure and affordable community housing on Galiano Island.

Isn’t the Galiano Green property zoned agricultural?

The land was zoned agricultural at one time, however, the topography and soil composition are not conducive to agriculture. The Galiano Community Housing Association, the previous owner of the property, applied for a change in zoning in order to build affordable housing. To reflect widespread community support, the Local Trust Committee, (LTC), subsequently rezoned the land and amended the OCP to designate it for Community Housing.

What is the proposed density?

The current zoning, allows for 20 residences on 10 acres. It is half the density of Page Drive, the neighbouring community seniors housing, which has a density allowance of 20 residences, (of which 16 have currently been built), on a 5 acre parcel of land.

Will these homes be owner built?

Galiano Community Housing Association had originally envisioned a cluster of small owner-built homes on leased lots with secure tenure. GALI’s proposal is different. We propose to build 20 rental homes in a cluster of multi-unit buildings owned and managed by GALI.

How will the project be funded?

The Galiano Green lands are held in fee simple by GALI after GCHA generously transferred ownership to us for $10.

 

GALI is applying for project funding from BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund.  If successful, GALI will be expected to fundraise approximately $150,000 and BC Housing would provide a capital grant, low interest mortgage, and an ongoing operating subsidy to ensure long term affordability of the deeply subsidized and rent-geared-to-income units. Other possible funding sources include grants from foundations, other funding bodies and privately raised donations.

 

What environmental provisions are you considering?

GALI’s current building design, included in our application to BC Housing’s Community Housing Fund, is intended to meet or exceed BC Energy Step Code requirements for a Step 4 building (40% more efficient than the requirements of the base BC Building Code).

We will be seeking funding, public and possibly private, to bring these homes up to, or as close as possible to, net zero standards. How close we get to that target will depend on funding received.

What are you doing to address concerns about water?

The Galiano Green property has an excellent well. The hydrogeologist’s report about the well states:
 
“Based on the results of recent retesting of well WID 23204, the following conclusions on the available water quantity and water quality can be made:

1. The well was pump tested for 72.5 hours between October 16 and October 19,
2020 by Red Williams Well Drilling Ltd., at a constant rate of 12.30 L/min (3.25
USgpm) and water level monitoring was carried out on the nearest neighbouring
bedrock well WID 12920 at the Galiano Housing Society complex.

2. Drawdown in the pumped well at the end of the test was 16.117 m below the non
pumping water level of 32.480 m below ground, utilizing 50% percent of the
available drawdown in the well. The well is more than capable of supplying the
estimated demand of the project at 7.99 L/min (2.11 USgpm) with a safety factor
> 50%.

3. Although capable of being pumped at rates far in excess of 12.30 L/min (3.25
USgpm) the safe well yield is determined to be 12.30 L/min (3.25 USgpm) at this
time.”

 

Water efficiency will be of primary concern at Galiano Green. We will minimize per capita use by using water saving devices (low flush toilets, low flow faucets and shower heads). We are exploring options for rainwater catchment and grey water retrieval for non-potable purposes. 

 

GALI has applied for the necessary Provincial Water Licence. The Province uses a rigorous method to assess the viability of an application before granting the necessary BC Provincial Water Licence.

 

GCHA had proposed to use rainwater catchment as opposed to groundwater. Will GALI do the same?

Currently, rainwater catchment is not allowed for potable water in anything but residential use within the CRD. With a rental model, the zoning will be considered commercial and therefore not eligible to rely exclusively on rainwater catchment. However, GALI will seek funding to use rainwater in other permitted uses, such as irrigation. We will also be exploring the possibility of using grey water for toilets if we can secure funding for the added costs of the necessary infrastructure.

What are the steps in the Islands Trust rezoning process that GALI is following?
  1. A rezoning application with supporting documents is submitted to Islands Trust planning staff. GALI’s application is for an amendment to the Land Use Bylaw to allow the construction of 20 affordable rental homes in clustered multi-unit buildings on the Galiano Green property. (The property already is currently designated “Community Housing” in the Galiano Official Community Plan.)
  2. Planning staff review the rezoning application and may request additional information.
  3. Planning staff prepare a preliminary report about the application for an upcoming Local Trust Committee (LTC) monthly business meeting.
  4. The LTC considers the staff report at the LTC meeting, and will decide whether to proceed to the next step with the application, and to refer the application to the Advisory Planning Commission (APC), First Nations (FN), and other agencies.
  5. After comments have been received from the APC, FN, and agencies, planning staff prepare another report for the LTC.
  6. The LTC considers this second staff report and referral comments at an LTC meeting, and may request further information. If ready to proceed further with the application, the LTC directs planning staff to prepare draft bylaws and other legal instruments (e.g. covenants).
  7. At a subsequent LTC meeting, the LTC decides whether to give First and Second Reading to the draft bylaw. If passed, the LTC will direct staff to schedule a Community Information Meeting (CIM) and a Public Hearing.
  8. After the Public Hearing has taken place, the LTC will consider giving Third Reading to the rezoning bylaw, and if passed, the LTC will direct that legal instruments for the rezoning be finalized.
  9. Once the legal instruments are finalized, the LTC will consider Final Reading and adoption of the rezoning bylaw.
Who are the different affordable housing groups on Galiano?
  1. Galiano Island Housing Society (GIHS)
    Established in 1975, GIHS is a non-profit society that built and operates Page Drive with 16 units of affordable rental housing for senior citizens at 276 Georgeson Bay Road, adjacent to the Galiano Green site.
  2. Galiano Community Housing Association (GCHA)
    GCHA is a non-profit society that researches and advocates for affordable housing solutions on Galiano Island. GCHA is also the previous owner of the Galiano Green property that is now owned by GALI.
  3. Gulf Islands Galisle Affordable Rental Housing Society (GIGARHS)
    GIGARHS is a non-profit society that has an agreement with the Galiano Club to acquire five acres of the Club’s Community Forest property at the end of Georgia View Road for the purpose of constructing 12 units of affordable rental housing. GIGARHS’ acquisition of the property is subject to rezoning approval by the Galiano Island Local Trust Committee of the IslandsTrust and approval of a subdivision application to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
  4. Galiano Affordable Living Initiative (GALI) Society
    GALI is a non-profit society that acquired the Galiano Green property from GCHA in 2020. This property is located opposite the South Galiano Fire Hall on Georgeson Bay Road, adjacent to the Page Drive seniors’ housing development. GALI will be submitting a rezoning application to the Galiano Island LTC to allow development of 20 affordable rental homes on the Galiano Green property.

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Galiano Affordable Living Initiative Society -- #6 - 33 Manzanita Rd. - Galiano Island, BC. V0N 1P0 -- galishousing@gmail.com