Denman Community Land Trust Association
Denman Island B.C. Canada

Island Grapevine Insert

December 5, 2013

Denman Community Land Trust Association (DCLTA)

is a non-profit society (2008) with charitable status (2009) mandated to hold land in perpetuity for the creation of affordable housing.

In the year 2013, DCLTA completed

* the lengthy process of acquiring land for our first housing initiative, a pilot project officially begun August 9, 2011 with a bylaw amendment application and concluded with registering the donated parcel in DCLTA's name.

* the Rural Affordable Housing Project and took the first steps in the Greywater Project (check our website

DCLTA extends a heartfelt thank you to those who donated ideas, expertise, money, and materials in 2013.

In 2014, DCLTA will continue work initiated by a memorandum of understanding for Phase I of a seniors' affordable housing project, a project which will draw from our experience, key documents and processes developed as part of the pilot project.

A DCLTA annual membership is $5.00. A donation of $20 or more qualifies for an official tax receipt plus a membership. To check your membership status, email

We wish everyone housing security in 2014.

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Denman Community Land Trust Association


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                         (name)                                                                                   (amount enclosed)



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                       (phone #)                                                                                 (email - optional)

  General Fund                ☐  Acquisition Fund

Please make cheques out to DCLTA and mail to:  Denman Community Land Trust Association

c/o 3900 Lacon Road,  Denman Island,  BC,  V0R 1T0  --  or use the envelopes in the DCLTA red file at the Abraxas Free Post.  Receipts will be issued ASAP.


October 2013

Phantom Ball Kudos

Once again, the Phantom Ball  was an ethereal success.
Perfect for people who prefer to stay home while supporting affordable housing!
Tickets were sold out - thrice!

The music was fabulous.  Annie Siegel and Johnny Depp jammed “Just my Imagination.“ Celebrity sightings included Bruce Willis (cousin to Patti?).  William and Kate danced the night away with baby George in a snugly.

Denman Community Land Trust Association (DCLTA) would like to thank Denman's
countless behind-the-scenes regulars who didn't bring desserts, didn't serve goodies while others danced, and didn't tidy up afterwards.

Most of all, we thank all those who bought tickets in support of DCLTA and thus making the Phantom Ball  the most successful non-event of 2013.


September 2013

Denman Community Land Trust (affordable housing)

Summer 2013 Update

The Denman Community Land Trust Association is committed to finding affordability solutions which provide secure housing for low income earners. The cost of land on Denman Island is the greatest stumbling block to the creation of rural affordable housing. With an aging demographic and diminishing number of residents under retirement age who are able to afford to live on the island, we face school closure, lack of support services, fewer workers and a narrowing of ideas, creativity and economic viability. To remain sustainable, our community needs diversity of age, household structure, income and background.

DCLTA is a land trust, taking land out of the turbulence of rising real estate prices and making it available for affordable housing. The organization works on many levels:

1) seeking donations of land and bequests;

2) acquiring and administering project grants which enhance affordability and housing options throughout the community;

3) working to complete DCLTA's affordable housing pilot project;

4) researching future affordable housing possibilities to offer secure, long-term housing to islanders who are low-income earners or on a minimal fixed income;

5) fund-raising locally; and,

6) keeping the community informed about DCLTA's efforts.

The DCLTA board is currently composed of folks who arrived on Denman when land was relatively inexpensive and who value living in a sustainable rural community. We are empowered by an amazing collection of volunteers, 'consultants' (those who donate professional services), and islanders who offer advice, insight and encouragement.

The Association's pilot project continues to advance and has achieved a significant milestone by the passage of 2nd and 3rd readings of the enabling bylaws at the July meeting of the Denman Island Local Trust Committee. We are pleased that our local Trustees have continued to support this project throughout the lengthy legal and administrative processes. We wish to thank Andrew Sheret Limited for donating the pump, Mike Lindsay for provided invaluable skill and volunteer help in getting the well pump installed and operating, and Steve Carballeira, of H2O Environmental, for his time, expertise and high-tech equipment to complete the testing procedures needed to officially establish that the well has a more than sufficient supply of good quality water. Add to this generous trio, the contributions of David Critchley who saw the well effort through to its successful conclusion.

On a different topic, our Rural Affordable Housing Project study was completed June 20th and produced the following recommendations:

* That DCLTA ask the Denman Island Local Trust Committee to amend the Denman Island Land Use Bylaw to allow secondary suites on land within the ALR, as encouraged by Policy 14 in Part E of the Denman Island Official Community Plan and as permitted in Part 2 of the ALR Use, Subdivision and Procedure Regulation as long as the criteria for dwelling size, “farm need” and "minimum impact" are met, and at least one occupant is an active farmer.

* That DCLTA ask the Denman Island Local Trust Committee to amend the Denman Island Land Use Bylaw to allow the use of movable homes with no permanent foundations on land within the ALR for the purpose of an additional, single second residence as long as the criteria for size, “farm need” and "minimum impact" are met, and at least one occupant is an active farmer.

* That DCLTA ask the Denman Island Local Trust Committee a) to amend the Denman Island Land Use Bylaw to either expand the definition of mobile to include, or create a separate definition for, “moveable housing unit” and include various types of construction for such a housing unit, rather than limiting it to industrial-manufactured homes; and b) to allow such moveable units as secondary dwellings on the land within the ALR.

* That DCLTA approach the BC Ministry of Agriculture, the ALC and the Islands Trust and request that they work together with local organizations to enable cooperative multiple-farmer family housing within the ALR through the enactment of legislation, including a suitable regulatory framework.

As a light-hearted fundraiser, the Association is pleased to announce that ticket sales are underway for the second annual Phantom Ball. The gala non-event is scheduled for September 21st. Buy a ticket. Buy several tickets — available at Abraxas Books and at the September long weekend Market. This is a gala black-tie event that allows you to stay home and still support affordable housing on Denman.

Ideas? Comments? $$$$? Questions? email

submitted by Harlene Holm


July 2013

DCLTA Cut'N'Paste Update

Denman Community Land Trust Association (affordable housing) has initiated two broad benefit projects, Rural Affordable Housing and Greywater Phase I and II, that tackle issues which affect housing costs on Denman Island and elsewhere in rural BC.

Rural Affordable Housing Project

The final report is now complete (June 2013) for our Rural Affordable Housing Project, which will help support affordable housing opportunities and enhance farm viability — an affordable, productive and sustainable future. The following is an excerpt from the final report prepared by project contractor Jenny Balke of Ecofocus Environmental Consultants.

The Rural Affordable Housing Project of the Denman Community Land Trust Association, funded by the Comox Valley Housing Task Force, examined affordable housing opportunities for those wishing to live and farm in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR). The issue was explored through research and consultation with local community members, as well as with regional agricultural groups and initiatives, and then in discussion with Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) planners. Existing and potential farmer housing opportunities in the ALR and their stumbling blocks were investigated using the circumstances on Denman Island as a model.

Major issues for current and prospective farmers were the high cost of purchasing land, the lack of available affordable farm-labour, the loss of agricultural knowledge and farm production due to the advancing age of the majority of current farming landowners, and the increasing ownership of land by non-farmers. In all these issues, the principle need was for affordable housing of those who wished to farm. The major stumbling block to addressing this need was the lack of suitable regulatory provisions to accommodate affordable farmer-housing options in the ALR.

Five recommendations are proposed. 1) For respective government agencies together with the ALC and in concert with local communities to develop locally appropriate solutions to three major ALC concerns. These solutions would include first, criteria to justify the need for additional farmer-residences; second, criteria to clearly demonstrate what is meant by minimum impact of a residence on agricultural land; and third, practical, legal methods to ensure that additional residences remain only occupied by bona fide farmers. 2) For secondary suites to be permitted by local governments on bona fide farms. 3) For moveable housing units to be allowed without the need for permanent foundations. 4) For the definition of moveable housing units to include various types of suitable construction, not just industrial-manufactured homes. 5) For government agencies together with local organizations to enable cooperative multiple-farmer family housing within the ALR. This would mean facilitating the development of an acceptable regulatory framework, permitting trials and evaluating the resulting models. All five recommended options would enhance the housing options for future farmers, and thus would encourage future farm production in the ALR.

Greywater Project Phase II

The purpose of this project is to design, install and promote a greywater system that achieves approval of the provincial government, is affordable and environmentally responsible, and provides a model that is broadly applicable throughout rural BC.

On May 30, 2013, DCLTA received confirmation of a Phase II $1,500 Grant-In-Aid following a 2012 grant for Phase I earmarked for research.

As of June 18, 2013, DCLTA completed a funding application to Farm Credit Canada AgriSpirit for

Phase II:

BC’s Public Health Act Sewerage System Regulation requires the installation of a septic system to treat greywater, even though a compositing toilet is used for "blackwater." Approved septic systems are costly, require power and professional maintenance, discourage water conservation and re-use, and encourage the use of flush toilets.

BC has no provision for periodic septic inspections, and failed systems are not uncommon. Because septic installation costs average $15,000 to $20,000, many people ignore the problem, thus polluting ground water and wells.

Rural affordable housing organizations such as DCLTA recognize that seniors on fixed incomes, renters, and people struggling to buy a first home are all burdened by the cost of wastewater disposal, which is approximately 10% of the cost of DCLTA's pilot project. Because a custom-engineered, approved system costs more than a standard system, few property owners seek alternative systems.

Affordable and effective alternatives to septic system ‘treatment’ of greywater have been used historically and are currently used extensively outside of BC.

Greywater should be used for watering fields, gardens and orchards, given the water requirements for agricultural use of rural properties and the prevalence of drought conditions in the summer.

All rural communities in BC that are not hooked to municipal sewerage systems could benefit by having an affordable greywater system alternative:

  1. Residents in rural areas will not have the installation and maintenance costs of a septic tank system.

  2. Water re-use will increase the water available for agricultural purposes.

  3. Power outages will not shut down the system.

  4. Methane discharge from septic tank venting will be eliminated, and ground water pollution from failed systems should be reduced.

  5. An urban approach (‘treatment’ of greywater) will be replaced by a rural solution (re-use of greywater via biofiltration).

Rural affordable housing projects using this prototype would benefit by being less burdened financially, while reducing their environmental footprint.

submitted by Harlene Holm


June 2013

       One Small Leap For Affordable Housing      

On June 4, 2013, the bylaws to enable Denman Community Land Trust’s affordable housing pilot project will be the topic of a Community Information Meeting and a Public Hearing — referred to as Proposed Denman Island Local Trust Committee Bylaws # 204, 205 and 206.  The Community Information Meeting is scheduled for 7:00 and the Public Hearing is scheduled for 7:30.  Both events will be held in the Denman Community Hall (Backhall).

The rezoning and Housing Agreement bylaws result from a very long discussion with the Local Trust Committee, the Trust planner and the Trust lawyers.

The process was initiated July 19, 2011, when DCLTA hosted a public meeting to present its basic wish list for a bylaw amendment to rezone the donated parcel and to respond to questions and, where possible, incorporate concerns.  On October 4, 2011, the Trust held a Community Information Meeting on the proposal and on October 5, 2011, the APC reviewed the proposal.  On the whole, the community supported the initiative.

People from all income levels should have access to safe, secure housing. Low income earners experience the greatest challenge finding housing and, as renters, pay a significant portion of their income to keep a roof over their heads.  These islanders are essential to the diversity of a vibrant island community.  DCLTA grew out of the community’s search for long term and effective solutions.

DCLTA has undertaken providing affordable housing for a clearly articulated income bracket and to folks who live here (whose current residence may be as tenuous as the next paycheck or rent hike).

Please attend the Public Hearing to support this small leap forward for DCLTA and affordable housing.

submitted by Harlene Holm

click here for

Notice of AGM Newsletter

May 12, 2013


May 2013

DCLTA Update Poster


March 2013

Feeding ourselves!

Getting more folks farming!

DCLTA Rural Affordable Housing Project

Overall Intent: Support sustainable agriculture and feeding ourselves on Denman Island by assisting future farmers who may not have the capital to afford current land prices.

Project Goal:  To allow more options than only one farmer residence on ALR land, to accommodate affordable housing candidates who would be committed to farming the land, while protecting the integrity of the ALR and the rural environment.

Project objective:  To develop a farm plan proposal process that would be acceptable to the ALC, allowing additional farmer residences for affordable housing candidates on ALR land parcels on Denman.

Motivating Issues:

There are farms, with a single residence, where the current landowner(s) is unable, for various reasons (age, illness, concurrent job, part-time resident, lack of farming knowledge, skills, equipment, funding) to take full advantage of the farming potential of their land parcel.

There are people, who are interested in farming for a living, but lack the capital to purchase land parcels at the current high market values.

Stumbling Blocks & Discussion:

1.  The number of permanent residences is limited to one residence per parcel of ALR land. The intent is to discourage possible subdivision and reduction in farming use.

On the other hand, the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) is mandated to preserve agricultural land, encourage farming on agricultural land and to encourage local governments to enable and accommodate farm use of agricultural land.  While the ALC Act, 2002 Section 18, limits residences on ALR land to one per land parcel, it also states “unless additional residences are necessary for farm use”.  In addition, the ALC can enter into memorandums of understanding and agreements with local governments (e.g. Islands Trust) to facilitate interdependent programs.  Such programs could facilitate farm plans that support the goal of this project.


How can additional farmer residences be added to ALR land without diminishing the land’s agricultural potential?

To satisfy the ALC’s requirement that additional residences be necessary for farm use, how can the farming commitment of these additional residents be assured in perpetuity?

2.  The overall number of residences on Denman is limited by the Official Community Plan (OCP), which sets the maximum residential density in the island zoning.  The density cap reduces residential sprawl, manages the demand for public services and limits the impacts on the natural environment.  The housing policies in our OCP, however, support a 5% density increase for special needs and affordable housing, above the permitted buildout of all possible lots.  In addition, there is a growing density bank available for affordable housing residences.


How can additional farmer residences on ALR land intended for affordable housing candidates, be committed to them in perpetuity?

3Landowners in the ALR may be interested in having their land farmed but lack the knowledge, finances or legal support to take further steps.


If you had ALR land and were interested in having the land farmed, what would your concerns be about having an additional farmer residence for an affordable housing candidate and what would be other stumbling blocks for you?

Successful examples of rural affordable housing on ALR farmland parcels are needed, do you know of any good examples?

What comes next:

All ideas, as well as the level of interest in the project will be recorded and reported. 

A proposal will be prepared to present to the ALC that outlines a variety of solutions addressing the stumbling blocks.

Getting involved, sharing ideas:

The Rural Affordable Housing Workshop at the Denman Community School, 7:30pm, Thursday March 7th is an initial opportunity to gather information and discuss this project.

Another option is to contact the project contractor, Jenny at 250-335-2151 or email to

This project has been funded by the Comox Valley Housing Task Force.

submitted by Jenny Balke

DCLTA’s News File 2012

All rural houses depicted on this site are located on Denman Island

Photos:   John Millen

Website:   Guy Marion

Last updated:   December 14, 2014


Denman Community Land Trust Association

registered non-profit society August 2008

registered charity June 2009

BN 84223 0898 RR0001

DCLTA’s News File 2013