Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | June 8, 2010

Putting Down Roots

For many of us, putting down roots means finding a new home or rental with the knowledge that we will be there for as long as we see fit. This is not the case for those who chose the military as their source of vocation. With the threat of transfer ever looming on the horizon, permanency has little to no place in their vocabulary.

For those in the military the first opportunity for accommodation when relocated are the homes on the base which are colloquially referred to as Qs, short for PMQs, or permanent married quarters.

In Greater Victoria there are 709 residential housing units on base property, spread across eight communities, all located within 25 kilometres of Naden. They are managed by the Canadian Forces Housing Agency.

Belmont Park in Colwood is the largest military community, with about 400 homes. Residents there are offered a ferry service to the base to avoid the notorious Colwood Crawl, a service which is not taken lightly. For those who venture into this community, you soon learn that the military police offer zero tolerance towards those who exceed the speed limit and testimony from those who live within the community attest that it is one of the safest environments in which to raise a family.

Work Point, which has 175 homes, is the closest neighbourhood to the base. It is just two kilometres from Naden. And there is even a street with about two dozen one-story bungalows outside the Canadian Forces Ammunitions Depot in Metchosin, which is prime waterfront real estate at the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island.

The most common type of housing is a three-bedroom semi-detached home, which rents for as low as $835 a month (I can guarantee you who are renting outside the compound are not feeling sorry for those within it now.) Rents range from $755 for a two-bedroom single family home to $1,290 for a five-bedroom single family home (although there are only three of these).

Until August 2008, when the vacancy rate in Greater Victoria dropped to about zero, civilians had the option of living in base housing. However, civilians have since moved out, and there is now a waiting list of about 150 military staff looking for base accommodation.

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