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Denman Island Community Land Trust planning seniors affordable housing

After getting an agreement for a land donation, the Denman Island Community Land Trust says they are planning to bring affordable housing for seniors.

That’s according to the trust’s chair Stephanie Slater, who says they are estimating the land on Piercy Road, donated by Emcon Services, would be around 3,000 square metres. However, it first needs approval from the Islands Trust to be re-zoned and subdivided for the project.

The trust adds the land is next to the Denman Island Healthcare Centre and backs onto the property owned by Denman Housing Association for Denman Green – another planned affordable housing project.

Slater says the possibility of this project getting off the ground is exciting, as a previous attempt for affordable seniors housing fell through.

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“After eight years of planning, the property owner just got very discouraged and withdrew and that’s understandable,” said Slater. “This particular project is one that we’ve only been working on for a few months.”

Slater says the landowner Frank Rizzardo said he would be willing to donate the land if they can get it successfully zoned and subdivided for the development. The funding raised for the previous project that fell through will be contributed to this project.

Finding affordable housing in rural areas can be quite difficult, and has been becoming more difficult over the years, according to Slater. She adds Denman Island tends to have a higher number of seniors compared with other island communities and the project would keep the community together.

“You want to remain in your community and that is one of the big needs that we find here,” said Slater. “We find there is a real need for community for seniors and that’s true in every region, I think.

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“We want people to stay in their home communities. That’s very important for their wellbeing.”

At the moment, details on the size, type of living space and overall design have not yet been determined. However, Slater says they could look at going for what’s called an Abbeyfield Model, where residents have their own private rooms and bathrooms but have shared common areas and staff to provide meals.

She adds they hope all the government agencies work together to make sure that the project can go ahead.

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