City agrees in principle to donate land for Habitat's new affordable housing subdivision

By Spencer Sterritt
June 19, 2018 - 4:44pm Updated: June 19, 2018 - 5:54pm

City-owned land at the corner of Pine and Albert St., which will likely be given to Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island for a new affordable housing project.Google Earth

NANAIMO — After successfully building 20 homes across Nanaimo, Habitat for Humanity is looking to build their newest subdivision in Harewood.

Rob Hallam, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Mid-Vancouver Island, presented Nanaimo city councillors with a plan to build 12 townhouse units on City-owned land at the corner of Pine and Albert St. in the Harewood neighbourhood.

Homes in the $4 million project will all be able to accommodate full families and two will be handicap accessible, which Hallam said will help with the “huge need in the community.”

Close to University Village Mall and a roughly 10-minute walk from downtown, Hallam said the corner of Pine and Albert St. is an “excellent location for Habitat families” with close “proximity to amenities, schools, recreation, and transportation.”

Not everyone in the community is welcome to the development however.

Area homeowner Steve Maughan, who's lived in Harewood for roughly 20 years, told councillors he wouldn't want to live there anymore if Habitat for Humanity built their new homes.

“We've had bad areas of town before, I'm not saying this would turn into a bad area, but, I won't be a place I want to live in. I love Harewood, I love my area and I just want to keep it the same.”

He also expressed some concern about the environmental impact of building on the untouched lands, home to a portion of the Cat Stream.

Hallam stressed the Habitat for Humanity development won't impact riparian areas around the Cat Stream. He said the environmental study about the land likely won't be ready in time for an upcoming open house about the development.

Councillors unanimously gave approval in principle to give Habitat for Humanity the land, appraised at $401,000, for $1 and cover half of the development cost charges. The total cost to the City, not including the value of the land, is just under $79,000.

The approval is subject to Habitat hosting an open house to present their development concept to the community.

Families chosen to live in Habitat homes receive an interest and down-payment free mortgage. They are required to make the payments and contribute 500-hours of "sweat equity" volunteer time. Applications for Habitat homes are carefully reviewed by a committee before a family is chosen.


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