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

Island Grapevine Insert

December 1, 2016


December 2016

DCLTA — “Of Icebergs, Designs, and Wall Hangings”

Like an iceberg, only one-tenth of the Denman Community Land Trust Association (DCLTA) activities are visible to the community.

DCLTA’s second project, Seniors’ Affordable Housing, is the tip of 2016’s iceberg. Please visit for the Needs Assessment and Business Plan for this project, along with a summary of the work to date. The project goal is to ensure that Denman seniors on low fixed incomes have secure, long-term housing within the community where they live, and that Denman does not lose valued community members and the vibrancy which diversity brings.

The iceberg's invisible nine-tenths consists of meeting bureaucratic requirements and enduring lengthy wait times for decisions; locating funding opportunities and completing on-line applications; researching existing affordable housing models and studying energy efficiency building measures. In addition, DCLTA attended the June 13/16 Islands Trust Housing Forum, submitted a strong statement to the federal government’s “Let’s Talk Housing” consultation program (link on the News File page of DCLTA's website), and shared information and ideas with similar housing land trusts (one as far away as Cape Breton Island).

The design and ground work for the eight-unit/four-duplex seniors’ affordable housing project begins in 2017.

The design process will invite seniors, caregivers, medical health providers, architectural/design professionals, trades people and all interested islanders to participate and contribute ideas, cautions and ‘musts.’ Conclusions will form guidelines which an architect can translate into detailed construction documents. These documents will guide every step of the construction and, thanks to the public input, should result in a replicable, rural-based, energy-efficient, low-cost/low-maintenance design that is adaptable to the various needs of aging in place and that has the qualities of home.

As an organization dedicated to creating affordable housing for low-income Denman residents, DCLTA relies on community support via memberships, donations, bequests and in-kind contributions. Thanks to the work of board members and the support of generous islanders, the weighty work is accomplished and the ‘berg’ continues to sail forward.

Visit our booth at the Christmas Craft Fair on December 3rd and 4th to renew your membership, stock up on house-shaped gingerbread cookies, ask questions and sign up to volunteer your time and expertise. We will be raffling a quilted wall hanging donated by Danni Crenna, which depicts coastal scenes and "birds in the air" piecing (and possibly even an iceberg).

submitted by Harlene Holm


September 2016


August 2016


July 2016

History and Update

Denman Community Land Trust Association (affordable housing)

In the spring of 2008, five islanders met to form an association dedicated to creating affordable housing on Denman Island.

Our island community had just concluded a lengthy search for bylaw solutions to stem loss of community members and secure housing due to rising real estate prices. The only legislative solution—increase density and hope for the best—has a long track record of failure.  Because local trust committee bylaws cannot control the use or limit the resale value of development, adding densities for ‘affordable’ housing may well have the undesirable consequence of simply adding more houses to the market.

Subsequently, Denman Community Land Trust Association (DCLTA) became a registered non-profit society in May 2008 and a registered charity in August 2009 which allows the association to issue tax receipts for donations over $20. We chose a land trust model because, key to maintaining affordability over time, a land trust could obtain and hold land.

The following quote from a July 2011 Flagstone article continues to best describe DCLTA's approach to affordable housing. The article appeared as DCLTA initiated the bylaw amendment process necessary to receive the donation of a hectare of land to support its pilot project:


DCLTA is tackling a very difficult mission — to make affordable housing available to a full spectrum of residents who qualify as low income earners, to charge rents which do not exceed 30% of the tenant’s income, to offer a rural solution, and to avoid taking on a crippling debt load. Despite these difficulties we still believe our goal is worthwhile to preserve the healthy diversity of our community.

As of April 2015, the pilot project was complete and tenanted. Consequently, DCLTA has a template Housing Agreement (enshrined in Bylaw 205 including the Tenant Selection Procedure), a model rental agreement, and an invaluable understanding of the bureaucratic ‘ropes’.

On November 16/13, DCLTA signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire two acres within the village area in a perfect location for seniors’ housing. Thus began the Association’s second project.

To date the Seniors Affordable Housing Project has

✩ Conducted a needs assessment,

✩ Secured a land purchase agreement,

✩ Met with provincial approval agencies to present proposal and seek advice,

✩ Presented the proposal to the Local Trust Committee,

✩ Contacted proposal neighbours and hosted a community open house to introduce the project

     and invite feedback,

✩ Conducted a Wastewater Assessment for Development,

✩ Identified a suitable basic unit design,

✩ Studied energy efficiency options,

✩ Secured the access lane to the proposal site,

✩ Received funding for basic site preparation and tidying.

The following are in process:

✧ Application to exclude the land from the ALR,

✧ Formalizing a business plan and analysis of financial feasibility.

DCLTA has benefitted from funding to complete research into affordability options:

➪ Rural Affordable Housing Project, June 2012, thanks to a Comox Valley Housing Task Force building capacity grant to address homelessness—investigated the island's more traditional style of farming and the associated need for additional, affordable residential accommodations on land designated in the ALR.

➪ Greywater Recycling Project, 2013, thanks to a Comox Valley Regional District Grant-in-Aid (G-I-A)—explored and summarized affordable and environmentally sustainable sewage and greywater disposal systems.

➪ Affordable Housing for Seniors on Denman G-I-A 2014—compiled a formal needs analysis report.

➪ Solar Power Research Project and community presentation G-I-A 2015—provided research and recommendations necessary for DCLTA to make informed decisions in the design of Project 2.

As a community based association with a mandate to create affordable housing, DCLTA relies on volunteers, donations, and in-kind contributions. Land donations and bequests are core to DCLTA’s creation of affordable housing. As a land trust with charitable status, DCLTA can hold land in perpetuity thereby assuring housing security and affordability for tenants. Projects depend on the size of the land parcel, the nature of the neighbourhood, the environmental values, the location (senior housing is best near the village), and, when not in conflict with our mandate, donors’ wishes.

For more information google DCLTA’s website (including research projects) or email

submitted by Harlene Holm

Island Grapevine

May 19, 2016

DCLTA 2016 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of Denman Community Land Trust Association (DCLTA) was held at the Old School on May 11th. Thank you to those who attended, asked questions, and offered advice as well as support of the Association. After the minutes of last year’s meeting and the financial statement for 2015 were read and approved by the attending members, an update was given on progress made during the previous year and future plans. Reports presented at the meeting will be posted on the website (

The Directors' report began by thanking the 206 current members for their support and the many islanders who contributed ideas, in-kind expertise and materials or donated money. The report then summarized DCLTA's accomplishments in 2015 on Project 2—seniors' affordable housing located on a Denman Road property. Essentially, work focussed on the prerequisites needed before DCLTA can begin fundraising for purchase of the land. A positive Wastewater Assessment for Development was completed on Jan. 26/16. Access to the property was established via a binding agreement with a neighbour, which was signed on May 11/16. And, an application was submitted to exclude the property from the ALR. The proposed ALR exclusion will be considered by the Agricultural Land Commission on May 26/16. DCLTA is grateful to Corlan Vineyard for linking its ALR inclusion of ten acres with our application to exclude four acres.

Discussion following the Directors' report focussed on the Project's business plan, which is nearly complete. Funding will rely on a combination of grants, funding sources within the government, and a mortgage and no-interest loans from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Community fundraising, discounts on labor and materials, and in-kind donations will also be part of the financial underpinnings. The Denman community has a long history of making the seemingly impossible possible.

Following election of the directors for 2016, the meeting ended with a draw for the door prize, a tea cozy shaped like a little cottage with flowers round the door, created and donated by Jean Cockburn. The winner was Des Kennedy.

submitted by Jane Guest


May 2016


February 2016

DCLTA February Updates

* Denman Community Land Trust Association's red file needs to move. The Abraxas Free Post "D" slot is full; the "A" —for affordable— slot is full. Thus, DCLTA's red file has relocated to the “Z” slot: zeal, zest, and affordable housing. If you use the Free Post to drop off donations and memberships ($5.00), remember to look under Z-affordable housing. The red file contains envelopes printed with the info we need as a registered charity.

* November 24, 2015, DCLTA received a CMHC Seed Funding grant. Using a portion of this funding, DCLTA engaged Stephanie Slater (MBA) to formalize a Business Plan and conduct a Preliminary Analysis of Financial Viability. Thanks to a 2014 CVRD Grant-In-Aid, DCLTA already has an analysis of need and demand for the proposed project.

* December 11, 2015, DCLTA applied to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to exclude the four acre parcel from the Agricultural Land Reserve, a necessary step before half of the land can be rezoned for seniors affordable housing. The ALC will make a decision on the exclusion application, once our Local Trust Committee has the opportunity to consider it and provide recommendations, which should happen at the March 15, 2016 LTC meeting.

* December 21, 2015, the association initiated Project 2's Wastewater Site Evaluation. Kudos to H2O Environmental Ltd's Steve Carballeira who met with a DCLTA volunteer Christmas Eve day to flag the grid for digging perc holes. Volunteers dug 9 perc holes December 26 and 27—a great way to work off seasonal excesses.

Please visit DCLTA's website

submitted by Harlene Holm

DCLTA’s News File 2015

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

Photos:   John Millen

Website:   Guy Marion

Last updated:   December 2, 2017


Denman Community Land Trust Association

registered non-profit society August 2008

registered charity June 2009

BN 84223 0898 RR0001

DCLTA’s News File 2016