Here’s how the new affordable housing project on Willow Street next to the Chemainus library will look. (Submitted)

Affordable housing project start-up in the works for Willow Street

North Cowichan entering into 99-year lease with Community Land Trust Foundation

Another long-awaited project to fill a gaping hole in downtown Chemainus is moving forward.

The space next to the Chemainus Library has been earmarked as an affordable housing project for some time. The Municipality of North Cowichan has just given three readings for a housing agreement bylaw for 9800 Willow St. and is considering a 99-year lease to the Community Land Trust Foundation of B.C. that will administer the project.

Funding will come through BC Housing and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

The Chemainus Fire Hall was previously located on the site of the library and the pending affordable housing building.

“It was rezoned in 2017 for multi-family housing with this project in mind,” said Rob Conway, North Cowichan’s director of planning and building.

“The project itself is 21 dwelling units in a four-storey building. It’s a mix of dwelling sizes – studio, one- and two-bedroom units.”

Five of the units will be fully accessible for those with mobility issues.

The location close to amenities makes it ideal housing for seniors.

“There’s lots of interest in trying to encourage and promote affordable housing,” noted Conway.

The same arrangements are being made for a facility on Sherman Road in Duncan that will be much larger than Chemainus with a total of 92 residential units, including 19 accessible units and 14 reserved for women’s and family shelter housing.

Drilling was recently conducted at the Chemainus site to test the ground conditions before any construction begins.

“It’s been designed to fit into the commercial core of Chemainus,” added Conway. “It’s got brick and wood exterior finishes and large amounts of glazing on the ground floor.”

There will also be canopies incorporated into the design in keeping with the library and other commercial buildings on Willow Street.

Once permits for the project are processed, it looks good for work to commence in the spring of 2021.

The company that will be managing construction of the project is TL Housing Solutions.

Ladysmith Chronicle