HICEEC’S HOUSING APPLICATION GATHERS MOMENTUM ON PROPOSED CELL TOWER SITE

0
53

Two clocks are ticking on final comments regarding
Rogers’ recently “staked claim” on a proposed cell tower
site many residents feel would be much better used for
community housing on an island that already enjoys
myriad connection options.
In light of conflicting published deadlines for comments
by July 13 and July 24, your comments are best
submitted online here  by July 12. (For those using small
phone screens, the Submit Comment box is on
the  lefthand side of this webpage .)
Please proceed to the Crown Lands website linked above
to Submit Your Comment regarding your preferred use of
this land for community housing, instead of the proposed
Rogers cell tower, which cannot be legally operated this
close to new residences. 

IMPORTANT!

You are no longer dealing with Rogers or the Trust. You
are now addressing provincial officials at much higher
levels in the Ministry of Water, Land and Resource
Stewardship in charge of Crown Land — who are likely
unaware of Hornby’s long history regarding community
housing and cell towers. Instead of tediously recounting
those campaigns, simply let these issues energize your
respectful remarks. As HICEEC’s Katherine Ronan
emphasizes,“It’s very important when making comments
to be super polite and reasonable.”  
And succinct.
Sure, many of us are weary of repeating our opposition
to Roger’s proposed cell tower. But this time, we are
addressing the province in favour of urgently needed
“workforce housing” instead of a cell tower. While this
terminology might seem too restrictive, in BC’s
bureaucratic nomenclature, “workforce housing” is much
more inclusive — with fewer boxes to check — than
applying for “affordable housing”.   
"We use different terms because BC Housing uses
different terms,” Katherine explained. “Affordable
Housing usually connotes subsidized housing by BC
Housing, whereas Workforce Housing is a more flexible
definition encompassing housing for all those who work,
or who have worked.”

ROGERS AND THE TRUST
Commenting on Rogers’ competing application, she
added, “Rogers wants this site because it’s the cheapest

place to build as it is close to the road. Rogers is a large
corporation and can afford to place the cell tower
somewhere else on the Crown Land. This particular parcel
is an excellent site for housing as it is centrally located
and within walking distance of many community facilities.
The Islands Trust is onboard with allowing housing on this
site and work on changing the bylaws has been initiated.

DELAYS EXPLAINED
So how is HICEEC’s housing application progressing?
“The process has been very time consuming and
frustrating,” Katherine replied. “Our project does not fit
neatly into any of the usual boxes. Crown Land is not
usually released for Residential  Use unless: 1. It is in a
remote location and 2. The applicant is an industrial
corporation such as a mine. Our other option would be to
purchase the land  at market rates which, as we know,
would put it out of our community’s reach.
“A lengthy delay occurred when HICEEC started to apply
under Residential tenure and discovered that, as a
nonprofit housing provider, they were directed to apply
under another tenure, Community Institutional. This form
of tenure would mean that that land would simply be
transferred out of one branch of government, Crown
Lands, to another branch.  
“This was exciting news as it would mean that we would
not have to purchase the land. However, it required
tedious further research in order to find the right ministry

for sponsorship. It took much emailing and phoning to try
to find the correct information as I was often directed to
the wrong official or the wrong ministry.  
“At last, thanks to our MLA Josie Osborne’s help, we are
now in dialogue with the right people at the highest
levels of government in the various ministries
responsible: the Ministry of Housing, BC Housing and
Ministry of Water, Lands and Resource Stewardship. And,
more importantly, the different ministries are now in
discussions with each other about our project and are
working together to determine the solution.
“With time running short we are grateful that our housing
project is at long last under consideration at the relevant
levels of government. We are hopeful that we will have
some definite answers soon.
Given Hornby’s time constraints regarding the Rogers
application, these ongoing, high-level inter-
department conversations could prove pivotal in securing
this land for cost-effective workforce housing. 

Post your comments to the ministry in charge of Crown
Lands here:
https://comment.nrs.gov.bc.ca/applications?appStatuses=AU
R&purposes=CMU&id=6667867a9f2ba4002285fbe9#details

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here