Thuthiqut Hulelum’

GALI plans construction of 20 affordable rental homes in four clustered multi-unit buildings at 280 Georgeson Bay Road, on the 10-acre property formerly known as “Galiano Green”. With the permission of indigenous community elders, the housing project has been given the name Thuthiqut Hulelum’, which means “Forest Homes” in the Hul’q’umi’num’ language.

Introduction

GALI’s vision is of a “village” community within our greater Galiano Island community, created by providing comfortable, affordable and secure homes for singles, couples, families, and seniors with moderate to low incomes.

 

History

After over a decade of considerable effort and expense on the part of the Galiano Community Housing Association (the previous owner of the property) the community decision was made to designate the land as Community Housing and rezone the property to support a density of 20 dwelling units, subject to subdividing and creating a bare-land strata. GCHA worked on a model in which individuals would lease a strata lot and build their own homes. The support of many local donors and volunteers showed that the community was broadly supportive of this long-awaited affordable housing initiative.

In June of 2020, thanks to the generosity of GCHA, GALI acquired the property for a sum of $10 for the purpose of building and managing long-term affordable rental homes in clustered multi-unit buildings, rather than owner-built homes on leased strata lots.

With the strong support of the Galiano community, GALI received the required rezoning approval for the proposed housing project from the Galiano Island Local Trust Committee of the Islands Trust at the end of 2022.

Partners

In June of 2020, GALI signed a letter of agreement with New Commons Development’s Small Communities Initiative. New Commons Development, (NCD), is an established non-profit affordable housing developer.

NCD works collaboratively with local organizations to oversee all phases of a project including feasibility, design, planning approvals, development and operating budgets, and construction. Upon successful completion of a project the homes are owned and managed by the local community organization, in this case GALI.

Funding

GALI has received pre-development grant funding from New Market Funds, from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, from BC Housing, and from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. Additional support for pre-development costs has come from the Vancity Community Foundation, which provided a low-interest loan.

GALI is also very grateful for the community financial support it has received through the ongoing Raise the Roof fundraising campaign, and for the generous donations received from individual community members, for which we are able to provide charitable tax receipts.

Funding to date has made it possible to pay for the many environmental and engineering reports and architectural plans needed for the rezoning process, and to prepare to submit a building permit application for construction of our proposed twenty units of affordable rental housing.

In July, 2023 the Capital Regional District (CRD) board voted to allocate $2.75 million from the CRD’s share of the provincial Growing Communities Fund to support GALI’s affordable housing project.  Applications to other government grant programs will also be pursued.

Rental Costs

Affordable rents for the housing units will be set in accordance with the terms of the Housing Agreement for the project held by the Islands Trust, and the requirements of project funders.

Community Engagement

GALI will inform and engage the Galiano community throughout all phases of this project through a variety of avenues including mailouts, the Active Page, social media, and through community information opportunities and site visits. 

Design

Considering the cost of infrastructure as well as the topography of the Galiano Green property, the design will consist of clustered multi-unit buildings with homes of various sizes for singles, couples, families and seniors, including four units designed to be fully accessible for persons in a wheelchair.

There will be a common building with shared laundry and storage, and plenty of room for children to play outside their homes and explore the nearby wooded environment.

Construction

We will strive to build as environmentally sensitively and sustainably as possible respecting and seeking to preserve as much of the existing natural second growth forest on the property as possible. We will consider initial vs. life cycle costs of the following: energy conservation (efficiency of systems) & atmosphere; healthy working environment (occupant comfort and well being); indoor environmental quality (natural day light access and ventilation, low-emission materials); site sustainability; innovation and system integration (architectural, mechanical & electrical); and materials and resources (collection and storage of recyclables, waste management, reused, recycled or certified materials, local or regional materials).

Water

The Galiano Green property has an excellent well. The well’s capacity to supply the planned number of homes, while ensuring minimal effect on nearby wells, has recently been confirmed by extensive well pump testing conducted by a respected water system specialist. An engineered water management plan has been completed, and GALI has received a provincial water licence to use the well to supply potable water for the homes.

We will minimize per capita use by adding metering, an efficient tool for managing and maintaining water supply system; and will promote water efficiency by installing water saving devices (low flush toilets, low flow faucets and shower heads). We are also exploring options for rainwater catchment and storage for irrigation purposes and other non-potable outdoor uses. In addition, there will be onsite storage of a significant supply of water for fire protection.

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