›› Fernwood NRG

On the 25th of November, the Trustees of School District 61 (SD61) approved a land swap for various properties near Vic High. As reported in the April 2019 Village Vibe, this ­rationalizes a patchwork of land title and allows the School District to complete a land assembly. Ownership of Haegert Park, the land used by the Compost ­Education Centre, and Spring Ridge Common will transfer to the City of ­Victoria.

With this land assembly, SD61 can ­negotiate a 60 year lease with the Capital Region Housing ­Corporation (CRHC), who would like to build 154 units of ­affordable housing on the site. After the vote School Board Chair Jordan Watters noted:

“[This project] benefits the community by allowingour partners to build much-needed affordable housing. This ­arrangement demonstrates that when local governments work together to solve ­problems, the community benefits.”

Fernwood NRG supported this land swap because affordable housing is core to our mandate and aligns with our Principles and Values. Our principles commit us to take action in response to neighbourhood issues, create neighbourhood places that are vibrant, beautiful, healthy, and alive, and foster new links between neighbours.

As an organization, we recognize the ­continuing crisis-level need for more affordable housing in our community, especially family-sized units. Every day our staff work with families who are struggling. It is for all of these reasons that Fernwood NRG supports the proposed new affordable housing project.

At the same time we believe that the CRHC, the City of Victoria, and SD61 have an important opportunity to ­demonstrate a higher degree of ­coordination, public engagement, and responsiveness going ­forward with this project.

CRHC has held several public ­meetings in Fernwood and has modified their ­proposal based on community feedback. There will be public hearings held for ­rezoning—likely in late spring or summer. Fernwood NRG will be actively seeking to have diverse neighbourhood voices heard as this development progresses. We will be ­providing regular updates on any ­consultation and opportunities for ­engagement in the Village Vibe and on our Facebook page.

We look forward to welcoming new neighbours to our community, and ­bringing people together to make our ­community even more awesome.