The District of Tofino hosted a gathering at Sharp Road last week to celebrate the progress of an affordable housing project. (DoT photo)

The District of Tofino hosted a gathering at Sharp Road last week to celebrate the progress of an affordable housing project. (DoT photo)

Tofino cheers progress at affordable housing project

“We’ve got 86 rental apartment units effectively underway”

The District of Tofino is getting set to celebrate the fruition of its first affordable housing project.

The Tofino Housing Corporation and Catalyst Community developments joined MLA Josie Osborne, MP Gord Johns and Tofino’s municipal council, at 700 Sharp Road last week to see the progress being made on a 14-unit, $4.6 million, apartment building.

THC’s interim executive director Ian Scott said the celebration was held for “some of the folks that have been really instrumental in making this happen” to see the project, which he noted remains on time and on budget.

Residents are expected to be able to move in on April 1 and anyone interested in renting one of the units must reach out to renting@catalystcommdev.org to receive details and an application form. The application deadline is Jan. 1, 2022.

The project, which Catalyst has dubbed ‘Creekside’ due to its proximity to MacKenzie Creek, includes four one-bedroom units renting from about $875-$1125 a month, four two-bed units renting from about $1,100-$1,550 and six three-bedroom units renting between approx. $1,220-$1,725.

“The priority is to rent to households who have been living in the region, working full time in Tofino and with household incomes less than approximately $51,000 for the 1 bedroom units, $81,000 for the 2 bedroom units and $91,000 for the 3 bedroom units. Tenants will be matched to units based on household size and income,” the Tofino Housing Corporation website reads.

The project’s roughly $4.6 million price-tag has received roughly $900,000 in funding from a variety of sources, including the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, an online accommodation tax collected by local Airbnb’s and the sale of a district-owned apartment.

Catalyst Community Development Society put in $115,000 and the District of Tofino donated the land, which is valued at roughly $425,000, according to Scott.

Scott explained the remaining funds are expected to come by way of a mortgage that will be paid off overtime.

He added he is confident the building will be ready by its April 1 target, though he noted the current demand will likely significantly outweigh the 14-unit supply as the project has received about 80 enquiries from interested potential tenants so far.

The Sharp Road project serves as a beacon of hope for the growing number of people in need of housing in Tofino as it is set to become the first successful build between the THC and Catalyst.

The two groups are also partnering on a larger project to build 72 affordable rental units split between two apartment buildings at District Lot 114, which has been dubbed ‘Headwaters’ because it sits between Tonquin and Centennial creeks.

Construction on the first 35-unit apartment building is expected to begin on Oct. 25 and the estimated $10 million building is expected to be ready for tenants in 2022.

Scott said construction on the second apartment building is expected to begin next year and be ready for tenants in the spring of 2023.

“We’ve got 86 rental apartment units effectively underway and we’ll see over the next three years, successive openings and people moving in,” he said. “It’s incredibly pleasing to be at that stage and that vision that was started so long ago of the district helping make new non-market affordable housing available to people in the community is coming to fruition. It’s not just on paper anymore, you can actually walk by Sharp Road, look at it and hear the construction underway and very soon that will be the same over at DL114.”



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

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