Housing has been in the headlines in Saanich and across the province in recent weeks. Federal minister Jean-Yves Duclos joined B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman on a tour of the Cottage Grove site in Saanich last week.
That project symbolizes the type of co-operative approach that will be necessary to address this issue that is so vital to the future social and economic success of British Columbians. The Cottage Grove project will bring 45 units of housing to the 3200 block of Quadra Street when it is opened early next year. Funding for the project comes from the Canada-B.C. Investment in Affordable Housing ($6 million), the Capital Regional District ($675,000), Saanich ($112,000) and Victoria ($112,000). The fact the City of Victoria is contributing to a project that falls outside its boundaries shows the importance the matter holds in the region, and emphasizes the problems associated with skyrocketing housing prices do not end at the end of your block or the nearest municipal boundary.
Another housing project is taking shape a few kilometres away. Rosalie’s Village will provide a home for single mothers and women at risk. The $12.5-million project includes 41 rental units along with a daycare that can accommodate 37 children, more than half of those reserved for children living at Rosalie’s. Again, this project relies on co-operation, this time between various levels of government and a charitable society. While the province provided the lion’s share of funding with $10 million, the CRD ($630,000) and Saanich ($172,262) also provided financial support. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul provided the land (worth about $1.3 million) along with a commitment to raise a further $1.6 million.
Similar efforts are taking place across the South Island, with the CRD and province each contributing $30 million towards a fund for affordable or supportive housing projects in the region. The projects could be geared towards seniors, single mothers, the homeless or those with disabilities – but in the end it is the region as a whole that benefits when all areas work towards a common goal.