Land Options, by Laura Thomson

Affordable Housing

With the topic of housing and land use being in the forefront these recent months, I would like to share some helpful information. Several years ago, the Islands Trust created an option for a secondary dwelling on certain zones. In ‘R2’, ‘F’, &‘A’ you may apply for a Temporary Use Permit (TUP) and build a second home on your land. ALR and R1 is excluded from this option. A is a zone, not all of it is in the ALR, and not all ALR is in A.  ALR is not a zone but a provincial designation.

To date, only one islander has made use of this provision, and despite the paperwork and difficulties that arose, they have benefited from it.  The initial application of a TUP will grant you three years in which to build and occupy the home. After three years, you must apply for a three-year renewal. After this, a total of six years, you must re-start the TUP process again with an initial application. This can cause some hesitation, there is no long-term guarantee here. However, a trustee has shared with me that unless there is a strong and valid reason to deny the renewal, it should be approved. Reasons that could cause an application to be rejected would be addressed in the first application. Examples include proximity to the fence line, setbacks, environmental concerns (bodies of water), well location etc.

With current lending rates at historic lows (around 2%), this means any landowner with the means to borrow could do so at a low cost. If a person were to take out a 150K Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), this would cost them approx. $650 per month. This cost would be easily re-couped via rental income from the dwelling. Building expenses vary, depending on composting toilets vs conventional toilets, rainwater systems vs wells Etc.…There is more than one way to skin a cat. Although, I prefer my cats with their skin on. (As do they).

I believe the trust will be supportive of islander’s application for a TUP, much effort on the part of the LTC went into its development as a viable option for housing.  A trustee told me that the TUP option is a great solution in many situations, but much more is needed to address the housing challenges on Denman.

Concerned over sharing space? Benefits of land-sharing are many. Having extra hands in the garden, children about, supporting elders with maintenance needs to name a few. Not to mention the human connections; many landowners have ‘tenants’ that are more like family than simply a renter. This idea won’t work for the majority, it is but one of our limited options, that hopefully some will consider.

The following is a short list of Denman Islanders in need of housing.

*One of our beloved humans, who has aged like an exquisite bottle of the finest wine, is searching for a long term location to park their RV/Trailer, electrical & water connections needed.
*A parent and child with many superb references would like to improve their housing situation & are looking for a long-term place to put down roots. A place where they can pause & smell the roses they’ve planted, something that comes with doors, windows, & a roof is preferable.
*A third individual, locally employed & reliable soul, would like to relocate to a small suite with running water & heat. As much fun as they are having living in a metal box without these amenities, they would prefer to keep their body temperature above freezing this coming winter. A short term 3-5 months would be ideal.
If you would like to inquire about housing one of the above mentioned, please contact (in confidence) For privacy reasons all personal information on renters and owners is kept confidential. The purpose here is to facilitate connection between individuals.

Laura Thomson