We were told at the onset that to attempt a housing project of this nature would be a long process with many ups and downs. It often feels like it’s a step forward and two back. Some happy times it’s only one back and two forward. Here are some of our forward steps, each one moves us closer to Rainbow Ridge being shovel-ready, each step brings us closer to our goal of building affordable rental homes for residents of Cortes Island.
- The Cortes Housing Society (CHS) in partnership with CCEDA and the SCCA are successful grant recipients through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative. We will receive $99,000 towards the new public trails on the Rainbow Ridge and Village Commons properties, which will lead to more vibrant village spaces including an outdoor deck renovation on Manson’s Hall. Trail building will begin soon; we plan to be completed by April 1/2023 before the bird’s spring migration and their nest building season. Thank you to the Government of Canada, Community Foundations of Canada, and the Prince George Community Foundation/Shuswap Community Foundation as the co-lead’s on this region’s initiative for the BC Central, North and Vancouver Island.
- The Cortes Community Economic Development Association (CCEDA) in partnership with CHS has also applied for a grant from the Natural Infrastructure Fund or NIF. If we are selected — then these funds will be used to create a professionally engineered Stormwater Management System including the Rainbow Ridge Wetland (Pond) and Village Commons Bioswale Channel (Creek). These landscape features will be attractive to look at, increase wildlife viewing opportunities, and be connected to the new trail system on both properties. The overall stormwater management strategy will reduce runoff flowing onto neighbouring properties, and clean the water by fostering removal of phosphorous and nitrogen with native plantings and infiltration beds for settling sediments.
- We have applied to the Recovery and Resiliency Fund for a $50,000 grant to help with core operational funding & staff/volunteer training and should soon hear if we were selected.
- We are deep in the process of selling the Gregg Road lot, which had been generously donated to us to be converted into funds for affordable housing on Rainbow Ridge. Given the nature of the land and its invaluable commercial status, it is important that the new owner utilize its commercial capacity and be community minded. This sale is in process and it will be formally announced once finalized.
- We are excited to announce that The Coalition to End Homelessness for Campbell River and District have the final report for their Housing Survey. Thank you the 110 people who participated in on Cortes by Sharing Stories of Where They Live. Together with their dependents, they represent 159 residents of Cortes who consider themselves to be in unstable or unaffordable housing situations. You can link to the final report for Cortes by clicking here:
Fall season is about transitioning from the busy of summer into the long dark colder months of winter just ahead. It’s the time to hunker down, enjoy the gentler pace to get things done and to appreciate yet again, where we live, whom our neighbours are and why we are so earnest about preserving this community by providing housing to the many who need it.
See you all at the town hall meeting in November. We will announce the time, date and location soon.
Sandra Wood, CHS Executive Director
On behalf of the Cortes Community Housing Society (CHS)