Broken main dampens new women’s home

The new Rose Harbour apartment in Campbell River is much-needed and it now needs a few repairs

Rose Harbour has only been open a month, but some flooring already needs replacing after water rushed into the complex.

A water main that runs behind the Dogwood Street apartment burst on Sunday, sending water cascading down the hill, bringing large rocks, mud and dirt along with it.

The residents were without water for six hours until the city repaired the main.

“The water was probably about six inches deep on the roadways and it came into the building,” said Valery Puetz, executive director of the Campbell River and North Island Transition Society which takes care of the daily operations of Rose Harbour. “(In) our child care room, the floor boards and base boards are damaged so we have a restoration crew in to fix the damage.”

In the meantime, the daycare is using one of the common rooms until the child care room is fixed which could take a couple of weeks.

Rose Harbour accommodates women and their children who are homeless or are having trouble finding affordable houseing. Priority is given to women who are fleeing abuse or who are in the early stages of recovery from substance abuse.

Sobriety is not required of the residents, as long as they display appropriate behaviour and are not disruptive to other residents and staff.

Rose Harbour opened July 5 and residents started moving in the next day. The home is already nearly at capacity, with just one three-bedroom suite sitting empty. Puetz expects it shouldn’t take too long to fill the suite, as there is already a waitlist.

The four-storey building, located at the bottom of the Dogwood hill near the corner of 12th Avenue, has 27 units – 15 single person bachelor studio suites, six one-bedroom suites, three two-bedroom and three three-bedroom apartments.




Each suite comes with a living room area, a kitchen, and a bed. Tenants fill the suites with their own furniture and purchase and cook their own food. They also pay rent, based on their income.

Most of the residents are low-income or on social assistance so to help make ends meet, staff at Rose Habour have instituted a barter program.

How it works is if residents volunteer to clean or do other chores around the facility, they receive a chip which can be used to pay for the Community Kitchen program.

Typically, a fee is charged to participate in Community Kitchen – a group cooking session which provides food for participating tenants to take home with them.

Rose Harbour also offers walking and stretching groups, morning meditation, yoga and exercise classes as well as social programs like playing cards.

There are also support workers for the residents to work with to help them overcome their struggles and to teach them how to become  good tenant.

“For the tenants for Rose Harbour we have three support workers who provide support services individually,” Puetz said. “Each woman who lives here works with one support worker and they work out a plan as to what they want to achieve here.”

Each resident starts with a six-month contract and once the period is up, residents can choose to renew their tenancy or leave Rose Harbour to pursue more long-term housing.

Beyond the Transition Society support, administrative, and outreach staff, Rose Harbour also houses the offices of the Women’s Centre on the main floor.

The residential units are on the top floors.

On the roof are panels for a solar-powered water heating system.

“It’s an energy-efficient building,” Puetz said. “We’ve applied for LEED certification. It’s built with excellent insulation. As well, it was built with products that are environmentally friendly. I think it’s really quite exciting to have something like that.”

Rose Harbour, a $6.4 million facility, is a joint project between BC Housing and the city. The province provided $6 million for construction and will provide an annual operating subsidy. The city donated the land, valued at $431,072.

An official grand opening is scheduled for mid-October.

See a slideshow of Rose Harbour at



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