Frequently Asked Questions

In 2018, the CRD completed a “Housing Needs Assessment – Southern Gulf Islands”, where Galiano was identified as needing 70 units of long-term affordable rental housing. The 12 units at Georgia View would meet about 17% of the assessed need.

All housing on Galiano, established or new, is located within BC’s Coastal Douglas Fir Zone. The Community Forest, zoned as Heritage Forest, was logged 12 times between 1872-1987 and is actually quite new. The proposed site was chosen in order to balance, as best as possible, ecological needs and our social needs.

Building higher density housing is one of the best ways to lower the ecological footprint necessary to build homes, and is far more environmentally friendly than building a single family home, or even two homes on most 5 acres+ residential lots on Galiano.

The proposed homes will not interfere with existing walking trails; during the construction phase, some portions of a nearby trail may be temporarily re-routed for safety reasons.

It is expected that one day, the entire dedicated Georgia View Road Extension will be opened up to provide emergency access to the properties beyond as well as access for future developments in those properties. Yes, there will be more traffic on Georgia View than there currently is. However, once completed, the only traffic increase resulting from this project will be residential in nature.

In seeking funding from BC Housing, we were told that the project as it stood was too expensive for just 6 homes, but that if we built a second building it would lower the cost per home and make the entire project more affordable improving our chances of being approved and funded.

Galiano has many power outages, especially in the colder months of the year. We are exploring ways of ensuring that homes can be heated and water kept running when the inevitable outages happen.

Many, if not most, people who choose to live on Galiano are drawn here to live closer to nature. People in low to moderate income households are no exception. Due to building regulations on Galiano, most houses are already spread out over the island and most people live far enough away from amenities to require a car. Most Galiano residents, regardless of financial circumstances already have a car. For those who would prefer not to have their own car, the close proximity of neighbours will make ride sharing much easier than in most areas of the island.

We would love to provide an option for car sharing to residents. We will be looking into various funding opportunities to support this environmentally and economically sensible initiative.

BC Housing requires that at least 70% of housing be provided at discounted rates. The remainder will be made up of “affordable market rates”.

These homes are set at “affordable market rates”. They will be built up to all existing building codes and will be properly maintained going forward. In addition, residents in good standing will never face eviction due to their home being sold, an owner or owner’s family moving in, to provide STVRs, or for “renovictions” in order to increase rent.

The shared amenities such as laundry facilities, gardens, shared garden equipment, and children’s play area also provide a more community based style of living which is desirable for many households, including individuals, families and seniors.

Our vision is that these homes will form a dynamic and supportive community within the greater community of Galiano.

Although residents in good standing will never face eviction due to their home being sold, an owner or owner’s family moving in, to provide STVRs, or for “renovictions” in order to increase rent, all residents are expected to respect the peace and privacy of others within the development and in the larger neighbourhood, according to local bylaws. Residents who do not adhere to agreed on rules of conduct will risk eviction.

An operating agreement between the Society and BC Housing will define the Galiano Island residency requirement. The Galiano residency requirement will also be reflected in the Housing Agreement. Although applicants will apply to BC Housing to ensure income eligibility criteria, the Society will have its own screening and selection criteria.

The Society will employ a caretaker to ensure that standards are kept up and the site remains in good condition for the enjoyment of all residents.

Internet and cell phone connectivity are more and more important in today’s world. GIGARHS will continue to explore options as they become available. Recently, our very own Galiano Association for Internet Access, GAIA, has been successful in providing affordable and reliable high speed access in the Georgia View Area.
Many roads on Galiano are not through roads. This is a risk many already take. With the higher density of occupancy at the site, clearing of trees after storms will be a high priority.

GALI, (Galiano Alternative Living Initiative Society) is in the process of a feasibility study to build 20 homes at 409 Porlier Pass Road, adjacent to Page Drive, on the land known as Galiano Green. These two initiatives are not competitive, but complementary. If they are both built, together they will only make up 32 of the 70 homes identified in the CRD Needs Assessment.

Climate Change is a very real threat to all of us around the world in urban and rural areas alike. The major concerns with regard to the Community Forest are Fire and Water. We have put a lot of thought into both.

The tree stands in the Community Forrest are young and the forest is unthinned with a high density of debris and ladder fuels. Should our project go ahead, GIGARHS is committed to incorporating Fire Safe Principles which will act to significantly reduce the overall risk of fire hazard in the area.

Water

Water is a major concern on our island, and will be of increasing concern because of climate change. Given Galiano’s small landmass, the protection of water supply is paramount, particularly when considered together with future land use planning and environmental needs. Any land development and subsequent water supply demands can have an impact on groundwater: more use means reduced volumes of infiltrated rainwater and subsequent recharge. Because of these concerns, we have taken steps to ensure that there is an adequate water supply, especially taking into consideration the water demands of the immediate neighbourhood. Water conservation measures will be incorporated into the design including features like low-flow toilets, high water efficiency appliances, faucets with aerators.

Rainwater Catchment

To ensure opportunities for water storage and conservation are maximized, rainwater catchment will be integrated into the water system design for the purposes of irrigation, washing of vehicles, and fire mitigation.   

In September 2018, we hired the Gulf Islands’ most experienced and respected well driller, Red Williams to drill a well.  In December 2018, the firm of Hy-Geo Consulting was engaged to conduct a 72-hour pumping test. Hy-Geo’s Senior Hydrologist assessed, among other things, any potential effects on neighbouring wells in addition to the overall groundwater quality and quantity in the region. The Hydrologist then reviewed existing hydrogeological data and reports for the project area, including topography, geology, climatic and well record information. All work was conducted in accordance with generally accepted engineering and hydrogeological practices.

They determined that at a pumping rate of 1.07 US gallons per minute, well use for the proposed project should not have any significant or detrimental quantity or quality effect on any of the wells in the region. Even more encouragingly, no discernible well interference was recorded in the Sticks Allison neighbour’s observation well during the pumping test. Consequently, based on the proposed project’s occupancy of 32 full-time residents, there would be more than sufficient water to meet anticipated needs. Built into the assessment is a significant drawdown safety factor in the well of 91.9% which would accommodate seasonal water level fluctuations and/or potential interference with neighbouring wells.

With respect to the productivity of the proposed project well, please refer to the professional hydrogeologist’s report of  December 2019, publicly available on the Islands Trust website at: 

REPORT ON PROPOSED WATER SUPPLY FOR, AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSING PROJECT, GALIANO ISLAND

There has since been some concern from neighbours that the projected use was too low and that the test was conducted at a time of year when water levels are typically at their highest. If necessary, GIGARHS will commission another test while water levels are typically at their yearly lowest, and/or have the desktop calculations redone assuming maximum occupancy rates.

The findings were extremely encouraging. They determined that at a pumping rate of 1.07 US gallons per minute, well use for the proposed project should not have any significant or detrimental quantity or quality effect on any of the wells in the region. Even more encouragingly, no discernible well interference was recorded in the Sticks Allison neighbour’s observation well during the pumping test. Consequently, based on the proposed project’s occupancy of 32 full-time residents, there would be more than sufficient water to meet anticipated needs. Built in to the assessment is a significant drawdown safety factor in the well of 91.9% which would accommodate seasonal water level fluctuations and/or potential interference with neighbouring wells.

There has since been some concern from neighbours that the projected use was too low and that the test was conducted at a time of year when water levels are typically at their highest. If necessary, GIGARHS will commission another test while water levels are typically at their yearly lowest, and/or have the desktop calculations redone assuming maximum occupancy rates.

MDD is the single highest total 24-hour daily water consumption. Depending on the type of development, MDD is comprised of a number of components. For a typical subdivision it looks like this: MDD is the sum of the Indoor Demand + Water Loss Allowance + Irrigation.

The MDD of 40 Ig/capita/day for the proposed project is based on both the recommended rural rate and the reduced demands which would result from the details of the project design: rainwater catchment will be used for gardens, and water conservation measures will be incorporated into the design including features like low-flow toilets, high water efficiency appliances, faucets with aerators.  In addition, because the system will be brand new, minimum leakage is expected. The MDD of 40 Ig/capita/day is the rate that was set prior to the pump test to determine well capacity. Having said that, the well tested above that requirement.

The requirements for this type of project are more stringent than they are for a private residence.

First, under the Water Sustainability Act, the principal law for managing the diversion and use of water resources in British Columbia, the proposed development, unlike a private residence on an individual well, must take out a provincial water license for water use.  By terms of the license, the project will not be allowed to exceed 40 Ig/c/d, and this use will be monitored. If it’s insufficient, a new or amended license would be required.

Second, if it were found in the future that any private residence’s well (existing or future) was impacted by this project’s water license, then it would be the project water license that would be changed or restricted to reduce or further limit water consumption. Not the other way around.

To be absolutely clear, the protection afforded by the Water Sustainability Act means that private residences will always have precedence over these homes for adequate domestic water supply.

The information required by the Province for commercial water licenses is listed on their website, accessed at:

Water Licence Application

Because of the design of the proposed water system, use will be closely controlled and monitored.  From the well, water will be pumped directly to a centrally located community pressurization and filtration system located in the Community Building. From there, the filtered water will be distributed to the individual units, and consumption will be carefully metered.

Community Engagement

Right now, we are in the Local Trust Committee rezoning process. There are numerous opportunities for community members to have their say about the project. You can find all related LTC documents here:

Get Involved

We welcome hearing your questions, concerns and ideas anytime. Please reach out to us through our contact form.

Volunteer

We would love to have you join our efforts by helping with research, fundraising, writing letters of support, spreading the word and anything else you can offer.

Donate

Financial donations and gifts in kind are always welcome and gratefully appreciated. We expect to be able to issue charitable tax receipts in the very near future.