An affordable and supportive housing facility in the Comox Valley is a step closer to reality, with the City of Courtenay announcing it has purchased property at 810 Braidwood Road. The purchase was funded with proceeds from the sale of property at 865, 877, and 899 Cliffe Avenue.

The Cliffe Avenue properties had been purchased in 2010 by the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) for a homeless shelter/supportive housing. The CVRD transferred ownership of the properties to the City in 2012, along with $100,000 from the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA), with an agreement that the funds, along with proceeds from the property sale, would be used “for the development of an emergency shelter and/or supportive housing elsewhere.”

Mayor Larry Jangula said the Braidwood Road site recently became available and was purchased by the City as an eventual location for a supportive housing project. “We knew the property would need to be close to services, amenities, and public transit,” said Jangula. “We believe this new site meets the needs identified by the community during discussions over the previous site.”

While the land purchase has been finalized, obtaining financing for the construction of any supportive housing still needs to be addressed. The City will be investigating funding opportunities from all levels of government and looking for partnership opportunities with local community organizations.

The Cliffe Avenue properties were sold for the appraised value $355,000 plus tax.

The Braidwood property was purchased for $264,500 plus tax. Mayor Jangula emphasized that any development on the site would need to first go through a comprehensive consultation process. “We want any housing constructed to be an asset to the neighbourhood and to the Comox Valley, a good fit,” advised Jangula. “We’ll be reaching out to the community and to a variety of service providers for their input on how to move forward. This will be an open, public and inclusive process.”

The City of Courtenay and other Comox Valley local governments will be participating in an upcoming public forum, hosted by the Comox Valley Housing Task force. October 16 at the Florence Filberg Centre on issues related to homelessness, access to affordable housing and healthy communities. Feedback received at this event will be used as a starting point for project planning. Additional project-specific consultation events will be planned in the future.

“We know there is a shortage of affordable and supportive housing in the Comox Valley,” said Mayor Jangula. “This site isn’t going to solve the problem, but it’s a good place to start.”