Bowser Seniors Housing Society is currently in the development process of building Lighthouse Villa, an affordable independent living facility for seniors.
Lighthouse Villa will contain 22 private units furnished with the seniors’ own possessions. Residents will live independently. Privacy and independence are preserved in a welcoming atmosphere providing companionship and social activities in the common areas. The residents are responsible for their own unit’s housekeeping, personal laundry and their own meals.
The complex will consist of 22 adaptable (three fully accessible) rental apartments – 20 one bedroom and 2 two bedrooms, all of differing sizes. The facility will be one story in height and include surface parking stalls for residents. Each residential unit will be fully self-sufficient with bathroom, kitchen, bedroom(s), living area, and limited storage. Amenity space will be used for companionship, gatherings, crafts and games. There will be a coin-operated laundry on site for the residents. Lighthouse Villa will be located in the Bowser Village, behind Magnolia Court and close to shops, cafe, library, bank, trails and transportation.
The target group of residents for the Villa are local seniors who are finding it difficult to maintain their current residence, are feeling lonely and would benefit from increased socialization opportunities, and who would like to stay in their community rather than move to a larger town or city among strangers. The Society will be offering spaces to local seniors and to seniors outside the area through BC Housing Registry and our own waiting list.
Here is our status as of April 2021:
• As a result of a Request for Proposal that we submitted Sep 2018, BC Housing announced in Nov 2018 that we had been “approved to proceed” with our project with a $2.2M funding allotment
• This represents approximately one-third of the funding required. We continue to work with BC Housing and CMHC for additional funding and our search for other fund sources is ongoing
• Our local fundraising campaign has raised $285,800 to date
Crown Land Lease –
• Our Nominal Rent Tenure application was submitted May 2017 (our original 2012 Crown Land application had to be revised to accommodate BC Housing requirements)
• In Aug 2020, we were offered a 30 year lease, which wasn’t the 60 year term that we required
• We are currently completing the conditions of the offer (our subdivision
application) and have agreed in principle to have the land transferred from Ministry of Forests (FLNRORD) to the Ministry of Housing (MAH) to achieve the lease term needed for BC Housing financing
Project Team –
• We signed a fixed contract with Checkwitch Poiron Architect in Dec 2017 and are currently in the Construction Drawings phase of the project (95% completed and peer reviewed)
• Construction Management services were pursued in Jan 2018 and a contract was awarded to Saywell Contracting Ltd. in Mar 2018
• Development Consultant services, as required since May 2016, were confirmed with a formal contract Jul 2018 with Walter Hoogland of Constructive Management
Site Development –
• All required site evaluations have been completed for environmental impact,
geotechnical and seismic concerns
• A Hydrology Study for a storm water management plan was completed by the Development Group for the Bowser Village (of which we were a participant) in 2018
Municipal and other Government Approvals –
• Waste treatment system – the RDN Board approved the Bowser Village Sewer Project in Dec 2017 and cancelled the project Mar 2019. With that news, we had to start again and design a septic system for our larger impact on our site in terms of space required, and both our zoning bylaw and our lease documents had to be amended.
• Rezoning – the RDN (Regional District of Nanaimo) Board approved our original zoning bylaw Dec 2018 and our amendment to the bylaw Apr 2019
• Development Permit – was submitted early Nov 2019 and was approved by the RDN March 2020
• Land clearing – we submitted our Occupational Licence to Cut with FLNRORD in Jan 2018 for our building site. This should be issued simultaneously with our new lease. We will receive permission from MOTI to clear and construct Pitt Road as part of our subdivision application
• Subdivision – the RDN declared that they would handle any subdivision issues for the 10 acre parcel (as the current leaseholder) with MOTI (Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure). Unfortunately, a subdivision became a condition of the new FLNRORD lease with us and we have been working through the process with MOTI since Sep 2020
• Building Permit – In Mar 2021, the RDN agreed to let us apply for our Building Permit, which we did on Mar 31st, so that the review of our Construction Drawings can begin. However, the following items still need to be approved prior to issuance:
1. Lot line adjustment (subdivision) – new lots have to be registered at Land Titles
2. Stormwater Management Plan – this has been submitted but requires approvals from both the RDN and MOTI
3. Housing Agreement – the RDN is requiring an agreement between the land/building owner and themselves registered against the property to ensure that the land is only used for seniors housing. This has been drafted and is being reviewed by BC Housing and the RDN and will require RDN Board approval after its completion
4. Additional covenants for firefighting and future sewer have to be drawn up and registered against the property
Next steps in 2021 will be –
• completing the subdivision process and getting our new lots registered
• sending our Construction Drawings out for Tender again (we had tendered after we went through 95% review with BC Housing Aug 2020, but the pricing expired Dec 2020 due to the delays with the subdivision process)
• completing the items listed above for the issuance of our Building Permit
• working with BC Housing on their funding requirements and achieving their Final Project Approval
• pursuing CMHC (federal govt) and other funding avenues for the balance required
All of our efforts are focused on making Lighthouse Villa a reality in the near future.