North Cowichan - 2983 Drinkwater Road

Street view  of Drinkwater Road, Cowichan Valley, BC

Creating safe homes for people in North Cowichan

BC Housing is building 51 new permanent supportive homes at 2983 Drinkwater Road. The housing will be operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society. Lookout Housing and Health Society will have staff onsite 24/7. They will also work with community service partners to provide supports to residents. We expect construction to begin in February 2021.

Design Details

The development permit for this project was submitted in the fall of 2020. You can learn more about the design for this site below:

Exterior Building Design

Property and Landscaping Design

Design Considerations

This property is located in the Bell McKinnon Local Area Plan (BMLAP) area:

  • Improving the range of housing choices in the neighbourhood for a range of incomes
  • Supporting initiatives and program that alleviate poverty
  • Using colours and materials that fit with the cultural and historical context of the location
  • Being pedestrian friendly
  • Providing green spaces and functional landscape design
  • Using an energy efficient design

Tree Protection and Placement Considerations

There are 56 trees on the property. The landscape design preserves as many of the trees as possible. It also adds new trees to the property. You can see the tree placement plan in the Property and Landscaping Design presentation

The development permit requires 40% tree canopy cover on the property. This plan exceeds this threshold at full development.

The following guidelines were followed when choosing tree locations (distances measured from centre of trunk):

  • 2 metres from all driveways
  • 1.0 metre from the back of a sidewalk
  • 2.5 metres from the back of a curb
  • 1.5 metres from all sewer and drainage connections
  • 1.5 metres from all water services
  • 1.5 metres from all fire hydrants
  • 6.0 metres from all streetlight poles
  • 3.0 Metres from all utility poles

What is Supportive Housing?

You can learn more about supportive housing here

Engaging with Neighbours

BC Housing held two virtual neighbourhood dialogue sessions to discuss the project with neighbours on August 18, 2020.

If you have any questions about this project please contact us at communityrelations@bchousing.org. You can also leave comments and questions below.

Creating safe homes for people in North Cowichan

BC Housing is building 51 new permanent supportive homes at 2983 Drinkwater Road. The housing will be operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society. Lookout Housing and Health Society will have staff onsite 24/7. They will also work with community service partners to provide supports to residents. We expect construction to begin in February 2021.

Design Details

The development permit for this project was submitted in the fall of 2020. You can learn more about the design for this site below:

Exterior Building Design

Property and Landscaping Design

Design Considerations

This property is located in the Bell McKinnon Local Area Plan (BMLAP) area:

  • Improving the range of housing choices in the neighbourhood for a range of incomes
  • Supporting initiatives and program that alleviate poverty
  • Using colours and materials that fit with the cultural and historical context of the location
  • Being pedestrian friendly
  • Providing green spaces and functional landscape design
  • Using an energy efficient design

Tree Protection and Placement Considerations

There are 56 trees on the property. The landscape design preserves as many of the trees as possible. It also adds new trees to the property. You can see the tree placement plan in the Property and Landscaping Design presentation

The development permit requires 40% tree canopy cover on the property. This plan exceeds this threshold at full development.

The following guidelines were followed when choosing tree locations (distances measured from centre of trunk):

  • 2 metres from all driveways
  • 1.0 metre from the back of a sidewalk
  • 2.5 metres from the back of a curb
  • 1.5 metres from all sewer and drainage connections
  • 1.5 metres from all water services
  • 1.5 metres from all fire hydrants
  • 6.0 metres from all streetlight poles
  • 3.0 Metres from all utility poles

What is Supportive Housing?

You can learn more about supportive housing here

Engaging with Neighbours

BC Housing held two virtual neighbourhood dialogue sessions to discuss the project with neighbours on August 18, 2020.

If you have any questions about this project please contact us at communityrelations@bchousing.org. You can also leave comments and questions below.

Please share your ideas for how we can support and build an inclusive community where everyone has the opportunity for a safe and healthy place to live. 

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  • Will you be offering Indigenous cultural helpers? There is a supportive housing model in Edmonton called, Ambrose Place. Cultural helpers can be very significant players for well-being.

    terri asked about 2 months ago

    Great question and suggestion Terri. We partner with non-profit housing operators with experience supporting a variety of resident needs. The permanent supportive housing at 2983 will be operated by Lookout Housing and Health Society who will staff and manage the building 24/7 and provide residents with support services. These supports include medical health services, mental health and addictions services, food, laundry, and connection to community resources. Community resources will include peer-to-peer outreach that will be tailored to the residents living in the building and may include Indigenous cultural support. We have heard from the community about the need for Indigenous focused housing in North Cowichan and are working with multiple partners to address this need, including at our proposed new supportive housing development on 260 White Road in Duncan. This site will be managed by a collaboration between three social service providers: the Hiiye’yu Lelum House of Friendship, Cowichan Valley Women Against Violence Society and the Clements Centre Society.  

  • How will they differ from others

    Punk asked 5 months ago

    The supportive housing on Drinkwater Rd will be self-contained studio homes with supports provided on-site, to ensure people can achieve and maintain housing stability. Supports could include outreach workers, life skills training, employment assistance, connection and referral to community services and support groups. All residents would sign a program agreement (similar to a tenancy agreement) and would pay rent.  

    Supportive housing is for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness with varying health and personal challenges and needs. People experiencing homelessness are not a homogenous group, and have had different pathways into homelessness, that’s why supportive housing tailors its response to clients, to help them maintain their housing.  

    Lookout Housing & Health Society, which has been providing supportive housing and community services to people experiencing homelessness in the community, will operate the new building on Drinkwater Rd. in North Cowichan.

  • When we look back at the earliest vision for Warmland, it was very similar to this project. How are we guaranteed that this site won’t turn into the mess that warmland has become? Increased crime? Increased drug activity and devastating hits to property values in the surrounding area

    Laura asked 6 months ago

    The supportive housing on Drinkwater Road will have up to 50 self-contained purpose-built studio rental homes. Supports will be provided on-site by Lookout Housing & Health, to ensure people can achieve and maintain housing stability. In contrast, shelters operate on a first-come, first-served model, with temporary access to beds where people have to check out each morning, check back in at night and are not guaranteed a bed. Shelter guests do not pay rent and they have to share a room and washroom facilities with other guests. Supportive housing provides long-term, residential units. Residents will be assessed to ensure they are matched with the right level of support services they need to remain housed and live a more healthy, stable life. All residents pay rent and sign a program agreement.

    BC Housing, the Municipality of North Cowichan, Lookout Housing & Health Society, and our community partners are working together to create a housing solution for the community. BC Housing and Lookout are committed to being a good neighbour. Supportive housing is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by experienced staff. All residents sign a program agreement in respect to expectations around behaviours.

    BC Housing will be setting up a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) that will oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community. CACs are a key part of how we ensure that supportive housing buildings integrate well into their neighbourhoods, and our experience is that they have been very effective at helping communities work together to address concerns and endure a positive connection with neighbours. The CAC will bring together the Municipality, BC Housing, the housing operator, service providers, and business and community representatives. 

    Research and analysis on property values surrounding non-market housing has been conducted and suggests non-market housing does not have an impact on surrounding residential property values. In a recent study [https://www.bchousing.org/publications/Property-Values-Case-Study-Overview-Report.pdf], thirteen sites were selected from across B.C. representing a range of BC Housing-funded sites. The report reviews median residential assessed values in the immediate area and neighbourhood and compares to the surrounding municipality. 


  • I would like to know what security measures will be placed for potential addicts using these facilities, and the safety of property for the local neighbours?

    Celine asked 5 months ago

    We are building permanent supportive homes in North Cowichan – self-contained studio apartments, with onsite supports provided by 24/7 staff. Supportive housing is for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness with varying health and personal challenges and needs. People who experience homelessness are as varied as any other neighbour. They may be seniors, people with disabilities, people who have employment but no housing, people who are working through mental health concerns and/or substance use. All residents in supportive housing have made a choice to work towards living a healthy, stable life. Residents will be assessed to ensure they are matched with the right level of support services they need to remain housed and live a more healthy, stable life.  

    We take a harm reduction approach, which means staff is available to support any residents who are in various phases of substance use and the building will be set up with the ability to provide a safe consumption space for residents only, to ensure the safety of residents who are active substance users. When tenants are ready to make a change, staff on site will connect them with the appropriate support services.

    BC Housing will be setting up a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) that will oversee the supportive housing’s integration within the community and will address any concerns raised by people in the neighbourhood. CACs are a key part of how we ensure that supportive housing buildings integrate well into their neighbourhoods, and our experience is that they have been very effective at helping communities work together to create a positive connection with neighbours. 

  • When will applications open and what is the application process?

    AndrewW asked 6 months ago

    Applications for supportive housing will open closer to the building completion. People can apply for these units through the supportive housing registry. 

    BC Housing and Lookout will collaborate with local service providers on a thoughtful and thorough assessment process to ensure an appropriate mix of residents with the right supports live in the housing. Every potential resident is considered on an individual basis to ensure that the housing and services provided by the program match the support services that they need, such as life skills training, employment assistance, and help with accessing a range of social and health care services.