Construction is underway on the first student housing at North Island College (NIC) in the Comox Valley, which will provide more than 200 students with a place to live on campus.
“Our government recognizes how important access to housing is for all students and how integral it is to their post-secondary experience,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills. “That’s why we are happy to support this student housing development, which will be a welcome and accessible space for students, including those with families.”
The two student housing buildings will provide 217 beds for students, including 157 beds in one building and 60 beds for students with families in a separate building. The buildings will sit adjacent to the Comox Valley Aquatic Centre close to child care, restaurants, public schools, health services, businesses and other amenities. This project will be constructed using mass timber and it will meet Step 4 of the BC Energy Code Step Code, the highest step in the code for commercial buildings.
“These new homes will help more students live affordably close to campus, freeing up valuable rental housing for other people living in the north Island community,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “B.C. is a leader in mass timber innovation and we are committed to exploring its uses to deliver new affordable housing British Columbians need, while also combating climate change through a reduced carbon footprint.”
The K’ómoks First Nation, the Indigenous Education Council at NIC and the college have worked together on the project from its original concept to site selection and design. K’ómoks First Nation members have been actively involved in the selection committee overseeing the procurement process leading to a new design and design-build team, and the site was blessed by the Nation in January 2023. The project incorporates many Indigenous elements, from the design influenced by west coast plank houses, to opportunities for Indigenous art-and-design elements, to the presence of NIC’s first Indigenous gathering place at the Comox Valley campus.
The B.C. government provided the university with $68.5 million to support the $77.1-million project, which is expected to be complete by summer 2025 with students moving in for the start of the fall semester.
This project is part of the Homes for People plan, which includes developing 12,000 student beds on campuses throughout the province to further ease pressure on local rental markets. To date, 7,766 student beds are already complete or underway, five years ahead of schedule. Budget 2023 included $1.1 billion for on-campus housing.
Lisa Domae, president, North Island College –
“Working together, NIC strives to build healthy and thriving communities, one student at a time. Inclusive, affordable and supportive student housing is vitally important to our ability to fulfil this important mission.”
Ronna-Rae Leonard, MLA for Courtenay-Comox –
“This is an exciting time for people in the Comox Valley. Once NIC’s new student housing is complete, 217 post-secondary students will benefit from a safe, secure and convenient place to live that is steps away from their classes, and at the same time, reduce some of the pressure on the local rental market. A groundbreaking win for everyone.”