Response to Rudischer letter in Jan. 16 Sounder

Tuesday, February 13 2018

To the Editor, Gabriola Sounder

The Board of Directors of the Gabriola Housing Society (GHS) is writing in response to Gisele Rudischer’s Letter to the Editor published on January 16, 2018. We wish to address certain statements in her letter and to provide information about the current work of the Gabriola Housing Society. 

In our opinion, the following statements in Ms. Rudischer’s letter need correction:

• “Phase One [of the Local Trust Committee’s Housing Options Review Project] was intended to consider changes to provide “attainable” housing.” 

The Phase I Charter of the Housing Options Review Project states that the purpose of the Project is “to increase opportunities for a wider range of housing options on Gabriola Island …”. There is no mention of a specific range of housing such as “attainable”.

• “Apparently the developer(s) the Housing Society has spoken with …” 

The Gabriola Housing Society has not spoken with any developer.

 • “Since when is $1,200 a month an affordable rental for low income people?”

The letter that Ms. Rudischer heard at the November 16, 2017 Public Hearing (available on the Islands Trust website) stated that “the shortage of affordable housing on Gabriola is now affecting people with incomes ranging from low to moderate.” GHS requested the change in definition of affordable housing for Gabriola in order to include people with moderate incomes. GHS is not equating “affordable housing” with “low income people”.

The Gabriola Housing Society was established in 2013, but did not become active until late 2016. During 2017, the Board has recruited more directors, monitored the work of the Trustees’ Housing Options Review Project, compiled information and explored innovative housing solutions in other communities, and increased the membership of the Society. At the June 6, 2017 Annual General Meeting, the members approved a new purpose for the Society: 

• “To improve the social and economic conditions on Gabriola Island by providing access to residential accommodation below market rate for residents with low to moderate incomes.

• To undertake activities that support the first purpose, such as (but not limited to): fund-raising, land acquisition, housing construction, project management, education and outreach.”

In September 2017, the Housing Society received a $2,000 grant from the Gabriola Auxiliary for Island Health Care, to “… complete the re-establishment of the Gabriola Housing Society (GHS) as a group that is organized and ready to work on specific housing challenges on Gabriola Island.” (Funding application).

We are now ready to join with others in working on housing challenges in our community. To this end, we will be hosting a Housing Forum in late April to engage the community in identifying appropriate ways forward for Gabriola, so that clear and concrete actions can be taken. It’s time, Gabriola. Let’s put our differences aside and figure out what’s going to work.


~ Nancy Hetherington Peirce, Chair for the Board of Directors, Gabriola Housing Society.