Affordable Housing — What’s possible for Gabriola?

Gabriola Housing Society

Press Release

Tuesday, April 24 2018

Gabriola Housing Society welcomes you to a community-wide Affordable Housing Forum on Saturday May 12 at the HOPE Centre from 1pm to 4:30pm.  We will explore ideas for multi-dwelling housing models that would address the lack of affordable housing for people of low to moderate income on Gabriola. Everyone is welcome to be part of this important discussion—bring your friends and neighbours!

Did you know that all the Gulf Islands provide regulated affordable housing – except for Mayne and Gabriola? Finding a decently clean, simple and secure place to live is increasingly difficult for Gabriolans of low to moderate income. Land prices have soared, putting house purchase out of reach for many, and good-quality rental accommodation is in very short supply.  Secondary suites are allowed only on lots of 2 hectares (5 acres) or larger, though the community is aware that illegal suites are widely used on smaller lots. The supply of legal, long-term rentals in good repair is very limited, and short-term vacation rentals—illegal on Gabriola—are further contributing to the shortage.

In the last couple of years the community has heard many stories of local businesses having difficulty retaining staff because of the lack of affordable housing and young families struggling to find adequate places to live. Available, affordable rental accommodation is often in poor condition, with mould and inadequate heating and insulation. Since many of these rentals are illegal, complaining is counterproductive for the tenant and is likely to result in eviction or closing down of the accommodation.  Also, many people renting good places for most of the year are reduced to couch-surfing while owners use their summer homes.  

At the Forum, we will briefly summarize the current Bylaws affecting multi-dwelling housing on Gabriola, and recall what the recent Village Vision project discovered about Gabriolans’ housing preferences. We will spend most of the afternoon discussing four different housing models developed recently by other Gulf Island communities, to discover which types of multi-dwelling housing are likely to be supported by our community.

Join the conversation! Bring your ideas!