Dragonfly Commons is a local not-for-profit initiative spearheaded by Fernando and Tami dos Santos, with a lot of help and community support, to bring about an innovative solution to our local workforce housing shortage. The project is for home ownership of small homes in an secluded eco-friendly development on Drake Road, walking distance to Ganges. This 10.5 acre property is owned by the couple, who intend to create up to 30 strata lots, each with a small (500-600 sq ft) house.
The co-housing style development means that there will be shared infrastructure with a common building for gathering/meeting space, laundry and tool-share. As well, the site will have a community garden and green spaces. In the site design, several acres will be undeveloped which include a pond, ravine and mature forests. Dragonfly Commons is adjacent to Mouat Park, which provides walking trails to Ganges and local amenities.
Tami and Fernando dos Santos have dedicated two years to planning and developing this non-profit project in partnership with the Salt Spring Island Housing Council and with the generous support of local professionals, Donald Gunn, David Gooding, Janis Gauthier, Ken Byron and Polaris Land Surveying. The project has also been greatly supported by numerous individuals on the steering committee who have generously donated their time and expertise. A seed-funding grant from CMHC provided funding for pre-development activities such as surveys, conceptual and site design.
This unique homeownership model will provide the lots at a price substantially below market, at an estimated price of $60,000 to $80,000. The owners and steering committee of Dragonfly Commons are looking at different building options to provide an affordable, eco-friendly home option. The current working plan is to provide a small home for $150,000 to $200,000.
An affordable housing agreement will be established to maintain long-term affordability. As well, there will be eligibility requirements to ensure that the buyers at Dragonfly Commons have low to moderate income. The strata will be required to develop ‘no rental’ policies to ensure that this benefits local residents. There may be an opportunity for non-profit ownership of a few units to provide affordable rental housing.
This is an outstanding opportunity for individuals, couples or small families that wish to enter into homeownership for the first time and could not otherwise do so in the current housing market. Potential residents could include those working in our community that are currently finding rental housing unavailable or unaffordable.
The Salt Spring Island Housing Council hosted a community information session on Dragonfly Commons in June, with over 100 people in attendance. A second information session will be upcoming.
For more information on the project, go to www.dragonflycommons.com.