Patience required to get shovels in the ground for Cortes Island affordable housing project

A multicoloured artist's sketch of proposed Rainbow Ridge affordable housing project.. The housing units are seen in the centre surrounded by forest.
An artist's sketch of proposed Rainbow Ridge 20-unit housing development. Image courtesy of Cortes Island Community Housing Society.
Greg Osoba - CKTZ - Cortes IslandBC | 01-02-2022
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Conceived in 2018, the 20-unit Rainbow Ridge community driven affordable rental housing development on Cortes Island is finding it is slow going to get shovels in the ground. The project was put forward as one initiative to address a severe housing shortage.

The Cortes Island Community Housing Society is overseeing the project, and President Elizabeth Anderson says that while much has happened over the past four years, there's still plenty to do before construction gets underway. She says that originally, the dream was to begin construction in 2020, but the process has taken longer.

The society has retired $345,000 of debt in money borrowed to purchase land for the project, through fundraising and donations. Anderson says about $200,000 is now needed to complete essential preliminary work conforming to government requirements, qualifying the project for loans supporting affordable housing.

Anderson wants the process to move along as quickly as possible, as Cortes Island's need for housing is one of the major concerns cited by the rural community's businesses and residents. She's hopeful shovels will finally hit the ground in 2023.

However, progress remains slow as the housing society applies for permits and works through bureaucratic processes to see the project through.

CKTZ News speaks with Elizabeth Anderson for the latest: