BC Housing may be planning to expand a supportive housing project on Salt Spring before it’s even begun — potentially increasing the number of units, as the island’s housing crisis shows no signs of ending.
In a statement provided to the Driftwood last week, BC Housing said it is considering expanding its project at 161 Drake Road, a planned 28-unit purpose-built permanent supportive housing endeavour, to be built on land owned by — and currently leased from — the Capital Regional District (CRD).
The project had been described by a BC Housing factsheet as being in a “pre-development” stage since its initial announcement in early 2022.
Now, however, some movement has been noticed on the site, and BC Housing confirmed equipment was in the process of clearing space to allow additional site survey work. The agency also states that the project’s scope may be expanding.
“We are in the process of completing the necessary due diligence [on the site],” said BC Housing in response to Driftwood queries. “There are 28 units in the proposed Drake Road project, but we are assessing whether there is potential for more units.”
The announcement gives context to a press release issued in mid-October, announcing BC Housing’s intention to lease the entire property — not just subdivide and use a portion — from the CRD. BC Housing added it would share an update on those plans “soon.”
Meanwhile, BC Housing said some of the Drake Road project’s intended residents remained somewhat scattered — between the temporary housing complex erected on Kings Lane, and the former Seabreeze Inne on Bittancourt Road.
“We can confirm that everyone staying at the Seabreeze Inne has been offered a temporary place at Kings Lane and, as of Oct. 28, seven individuals have chosen to relocate there,” said BC Housing last Wednesday. “Conversations with the nine people remaining at the Seabreeze Inne are ongoing.”
Those conversations are likely complicated; on Oct. 26, a civil suit was filed in B.C.’s Supreme Court, naming — in part — several people thought to have been living at the Seabreeze. Among other remedies, that action, which was brought by the current Seabreeze owner, the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation (LMHF), wants the court to determine whether those remaining are, as it asserts, trespassing.
In addition, at least two among those still at the Seabreeze have retained legal counsel, in connection to a dispute resolution process sought with B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch. That hearing could be forestalled as a matter of process, should the B.C. Supreme Court issue LMHF a writ of possession.