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Cowichan Tribes taps BC Builds for new 199-unit rental project in Duncan

Project 1 of 3 recently announced through new program aimed at accelerating rental housing
A new 199-unit rental complex will be constructed at 222 Cowichan Way in Duncan. (Submitted graphic)

A new four to six-storey, 199-unit rental complex will be constructed on reserve land owned by Cowichan Tribes at 222 Cowichan Way in Duncan.

The project, which will be developed by Cowichan Tribes economic arm Khowutzun Development, is part of the province’s new BC Builds program that looks to lower construction costs, speed up timelines, and deliver more homes that middle-income people who live and work in B.C. can afford.

The initiative will leverage government, community and non-profit owned and underused land with $2 billion in low-cost financing, and a commitment of $950 million for the overall program.


The project by Cowichan Tribes, one of three projects that the province has recently announced through BC Builds, will have a minimum of 20 per cent of the units that will be rented at 20 per cent below market value, with a goal of delivering even more units at below-market rates.

It will also provide a new governance headquarters for Cowichan Tribes, and space for Indigenous businesses.

“Anyone looking for a place to live knows how hard it is; even if you make a decent salary there are not enough rental homes people can afford,” said Premier David Eby.

“The private sector alone has not been able to deliver the homes middle-class people in B.C. need. That’s why we’re taking action through BC Builds to deliver lower-cost middle-income homes, faster, so the people who keep our communities working — like teachers, nurses, and construction workers — can find homes they can afford in the communities they love.”

BC Builds works in partnership with non-profits, local governments, First Nations and the development sector to identify available underused land, provide financing and funding, and deliver projects that create more homes and help bring costs more in line with what middle-income households earn.

All BC Builds units have a target of middle-income households spending no more than approximately 30 per cent of their income on rent.

The rents for BC Builds will not exceed market rent for that community, and will in many cases be below.

The program also works with municipalities, landowners, residential builders and housing operators to move projects from concept to construction within 12 to 18 months, compared to the current of average of three to five years.

This will be accomplished by streamlining municipal development processes and by working with landowners, municipalities and residential builders to remove barriers.

“Too many middle-class families are struggling to find a place to live that they can afford, and that’s holding people and our economy back,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of Housing.

“BC Builds is designed to meet this moment, overcome challenging market conditions, and deliver lower-cost rental homes for the people who deliver the services we rely on, and drive our economy forward, so they can build good lives here and thrive.”

But Sonia Furstenau, MLA for the Cowichan Valley and head of the BC Green Party, said that with the BC Builds program, the NDP government has abandoned British Columbians who struggle the most with costs of living

“Premier Eby has chosen to support British Columbians with earnings over $85,000 per year, ignoring the desperate reality the majority of British Columbians are facing,” she said.

“Where is the support for the truly middle-income households, who make up over half of B.C.’s population?”

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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