Housing for People – Not Profit: a Year-End Message From the Denman Community Land Trust Association 

By Stephanie Slater, Chair, Denman Community Land Trust Association (DCLTA)

“Secure housing for people – not profit.” In October I attended the first conference of the new Canadian Network of Community Land Trusts and this statement from one of the presenters really stood out for me. 

It’s what land trusts are all about: de-commodifying land so that people can have secure, affordable housing. 

Earlier this year, when the Pepper Lane Seniors Housing Project was cancelled, the DCLTA pledged to continue the work of creating secure, affordable housing for seniors. At our annual general meeting in September, we were delighted to announce an agreement we made with Emcon Services Inc. for Emcon to donate some property for seniors housing. 

Emcon president Frank Rizzardo has agreed to donate a portion of the property Emcon owns on Piercy Road – pending successful re-zoning and subdivision approval. The section we propose to subdivide is the western end of the works yard, next to the Denman Island Health Centre. The property also backs onto the property where the Denman Housing Association will build the Denman Green affordable housing complex. 

The DCLTA is assessing water supply, septic options, and requirements for an environmental assessment of the property. If and when the viability of these elements is confirmed we will seek input from the community on a design. 

The DCLTA continues to work closely with the Denman Housing Association, sharing knowledge and expertise. At our AGM, we confirmed the appointment of DHA board member Dave Ricketts to the DCLTA board. Meanwhile, DCLTA board members Pam Willis and Sue Hammell also serve on the DHA board. At the AGM, we welcomed new board member Christopher Porter. Ongoing directors include Chris Wardman, Daryl McLoughlin, Debbie Frketich, Nancy Hoyano, Paul Beauchemin, as well as Pam and Sue – mentioned above – and myself, Stephanie.  

Part of our work during 2023 has been to deepen our understanding of our land trust mandate. That’s why I attended the national land trust conference mentioned at the beginning of this report. Land trusts operate across the country and there are different models for providing housing. One common factor is it isn’t an easy process for any of us. Governments aren’t particularly supportive and it was a common theme that they need to be more engaged.

Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow – a former MP – highlighted that message. She ended her presentation by encouraging conference delegates to “dream big. Be bold. Be loud. Tell government to invest!”

We intend to keep doing this. In fact, if we want to see the policy changes and corresponding government investment that results in a broader scope of housing options for Canadians, we all have to tell our elected representatives that this is important to us. Representatives for Denman Island at all government levels are supportive but they need to know this is a priority for many of their constituents, as it gives them more strength in advocating on our behalf. 

If you would like to invest in your local land trust, please consider making a year-end donation to take advantage of the tax credit. See the How to Help page on our website https://denmanaffordablehousing.org for ways to give. Donation options include going through Canada Helps, where you may donate to multiple charities and get your tax receipt instantly. 

Meanwhile, we continue to invite suggestions or inquiries about potential land for affordable housing for Denman Island residents of all ages. We can discuss purchase, long-term lease, subdivision of property, donation of property (including with life lease for the owner), bequests, and other options. 

Here’s hoping we see real progress in 2024 for affordable housing on Denman Island!

Best wishes for a happy, well-housed year for everyone. 

Stephanie Slater, Chair
Denman Community Land Trust Association (DCLTA

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