2003 Fernwood RoadFernwood NRG to purchase 2009 Fernwood Rd. and 1310 Gladstone Ave. for mixed use development and affordable housing

Fernwood NRG has made an ­agreement to purchase 2009 ­Fernwood Road and 1310 ­Gladstone Avenue from the M’is Kow A Ao Development Society. The ­purchase closes November 1st, 2013. The M’akola Group of Societies will remain ­headquartered at 2009 ­Fernwood Road under a lease ­agreement with ­Fernwood NRG, until offices they are building in Langford are ready for occupancy. ­Fernwood NRG will be consulting with the neighbourhood before seeking approval from the City of Victoria to redevelop the properties.

“This is an exciting next step in ­creating the future of our neighbourhood,” said Lisa Matthaus, Chair of the Board of Directors of Fernwood NRG. “In 2011, Fernwood NRG hosted the Fernwood ­Neighbourhood Visioning Forum. ­Neighbours discussed what they wanted to see in their neighbourhood—a vibrant arts scene, more local businesses, greater food security and more affordable housing options. Above all, Fernwoodians wanted to keep Fernwood funky,” she said. “We heard you Fernwood! These ­properties offer a great opportunity to create ­additional affordable housing and spaces for local businesses in Fernwood.”


Fernwood NRG is working with ­architectural firm Christine Lintott ­Architect on preliminary ideas for the new buildings. Later this year, there will be a public meeting with the ­Community ­Association Land Use Committee for nearby residents, but Fernwood NRG is also planning additional opportunities for feedback from all Fernwood residents (see Editorial).

Fernwood NRG has been building and operating affordable housing since 2006. In 2005, Fernwood NRG ­purchased the ­derelict and boarded up ­Cornerstone ­Building and, with an ­estimated 10,000 hours of ­volunteer ­support from the ­neighbourhood, ­demolished the ­interior of the building. In 2006, a host of ­tradespeople completely rebuilt the ­interior, ­readying commercial space for lease and four 3-­bedroom units of ­affordable ­family ­housing. In 2008, ­Fernwood NRG ­continued its push for more affordable housing in Fernwood by purchasing two vacant lots on Yukon Street and building a further six 3-bedroom units.

Fernwood NRG also owns and ­operates commercial space in the Cornerstone ­Building, leasing to Stage Wine Bar and the Yoga Den. Additionally, the ­organization owns and operates both the Cornerstone Café and Studio 1313. Proceeds from these commercial activities support the ­delivery of high quality services to families in ­Fernwood and to help keep the housing units affordable.

Fernwood residents can support the work of Fernwood NRG’s charitable arm  by ­becoming a member of the ­Society (membership is free), ­volunteering to help with ­neighbourhood events and ­activities, ­making a charitable donation (tax receipts will be issued) or by visiting the ­Cornerstone Café or Studio 1313.

Lee Herrin
Published October 2013
Village Vibe Newspaper