Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror Habitat volunteers and North Island College students lay the foundation for Habitat for Humanity’s latest build on Hilchey Road. The build includes four duplexes and one triplex to be built over the next three years.

Largest Habitat build in Campbell River gets a helping hand

City council has waived fees for Habitat to help with its largest ever Campbell River build

Typically, it’s Habitat for Humanity giving the hand up but recently, the non-profit was on the receiving end of such a gesture.

At its March 27 meeting, Campbell River City Council agreed to help Habitat make its most recent build – a multi-family development on Hilchey Road – a bit more financially viable.

Habitat will be exempt from posting a $29,233 bond – an upfront cost posted by an applicant to ensure no road damage occurs during development and that all the landscaping promised by the developer comes to fruition – and will receive a $23,000 grant-in-lieu to cover land-use application fees.

Council also asked city staff to report back on a strategy for helping Habitat with external costs and development cost charges, both of which the city does not have the ability to waive.

Then on Monday, the good news continued to pour in for Habitat. The province announced it is providing a $200,000 grant to help build the first of four duplexes Habitat is constructing on a one-acre piece of land the organization purchased at 477 Hilchey Rd.

“We are proud to partner with Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North to provide safe and affordable housing for families in need,” said Rich Coleman, minister responsible for housing, in a release. “Projects like this are a fundamental part of a vibrant and healthy community and can change the lives of the people who call them home.”

Habitat for Humanity intends to construct 11 residential housing units (four duplexes and one triplex) over the next three years. Construction on the first two three-bedroom duplexes began in March and they are expected to be ready for occupancy in July.

Pat McKenna, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Vancouver Island North, said he the organization is greatful for all of the help it’s received thus far.

“This funding has enabled us to finalize the first phase of a project to provide strength, security and affordable home ownership for Campbell River families,” McKenna said. “We couldn’t have carried this out without the help of our partners, so a big thank you to all of them, especially the City of Campbell River, North Island College and its foundation program for carpentry, electrical and plumbing.”

This most recent build is the fourth for Habitat in Campbell River, following the success of duplexes built by volunteers on Maple Street, Hilchey, and most recently, Dalton Road. All totalled, the homes have provided home ownership to six local families.

The newest project will bring that total to 17 families.

McKenna told council in January that through a family selection process for the Dalton Road build, Habitat has already identified three families who will benefit from this most recent build which is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.

Habitat for Humanity completed its first build in Campbell River in 2009 when roughly 400 volunteers helped build a duplex on property donated by the city on Maple Street.

That was followed by a second duplex on Hilchey Road in 2015 and, last year, another duplex on Dalton Road, again on city-donated land.

Habitat for Humanity builds homes for families who otherwise could not afford a mortgage. Habitat homeowners make monthly loan payments that are based on approximately 30 per cent of their gross monthly household income. Owners must also put in 500 hours of ‘sweat equity’ which typically consists of volunteering to help build their home.

Successful homeowner applicants must have a regular income that is not Employment Insurance or Income Assistance and they must have full custody of at least one child under the age of 18.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity visit, habitatnorthisland.com