North Island College has announced that it is creating its first on-campus student housing project.
The Comox Valley campus in Courtenay will see 157 individual and 60 family-specific options in two new student housing buildings, offering a total of 217 beds.
“We know students need access to affordable housing so they can commit to their studies without the worry of where to call home during the school year. This project will help so many people and I am really excited about the inclusion of dedicated spaces for families,” said Anne Kang, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training. “This project is part of our Homes for BC plan, which includes building 8,000 new student beds by 2028. Including NIC, we are now more than 75% of the way to reaching that goal.”
The project will cost $65.9-million. $57.3 million will come in government funding and $6.6 million from the BC Student Housing Loan Program, and $2 million provided by North Island College.
Both four-storey buildings will offer a variety of options, ranging from two-bedroom family student housing to quad (individual bedrooms with shared living areas) and studio apartments for individual students. Nine of the units will be accessible for people with disabilities, and both buildings include common areas such as interfaith rooms, a community food garden, play areas and outdoor gathering spaces.
“The Comox Valley has a 1.3% vacancy rate – lower than Victoria or Vancouver. So many people and families who are investing in their studies through North Island College need rental housing,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox. “This project will have such a positive impact on their learning experience and on housing availability for all residents.”
Both buildings will be constructed with mass timber, in alignment with Aligned with the Province’s CleanBC plan. Construction is expected to begin this coming fall and take about a year to complete.
“The Housing Commons is a physical expression of NIC’s commitment to people and communities across the North Island,” said Lisa Domae, NIC president. “It represents NIC’s core values of access to education and training for everyone, life-long learning, Indigenization and the College’s institution-defining culture of inclusivity, caring and student success. I want to thank Minister Anne Kang and all those whose hard work and support for the Housing Commons have created this incredible opportunity for the North Island.”
* North Island College serves more than 9,000 students from campuses in Campbell River, Courtenay, Port Alberni and Port Hardy, as well as a learning centre in Ucluelet.
* 49% of students identifying as renters and 53% of students attending the Courtenay campus come from within the North Island region.
* The project is estimated to add 341 direct jobs, and 129 indirect jobs to the economy.