The proposed site of the City’s development on Basford Drive. (City of Revelstoke)

City and Revelstoke Community Housing Society seek to address affordable housing crisis

The City and RCHS have applied for two separate grants to build 50 and 21 units of affordable housing

The City of Revelstoke might have two new affordable housing projects built in the next five years.

Two weeks ago the City and the Revelstoke Community Housing Society (RCHS) applied for two separate grants to support the proposed development of 71 units of affordable housing.

If approved, the City’s application will help fund the development of a 50-unit complex in Columbia Park on Basford Drive.

The RCHS application will contribute to developing a 21-unit apartment building behind the ambulance service station in Southside.

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The grant applications were submitted in dialogue with one another to BC Housing, which put out a call for submissions as part of its Columbia Basin Investment in Affordable Housing, a program offered by the Columbia Basin Trust, said Nicole Fricot, director of community economic development at the City of Revelstoke, and Debra Wozniak, who is a member of the RCHS.

As part of that ongoing dialogue, Glenn O’Reilly, the chairman of the board of the RCHS, said the Community Housing Society has agreed to manage the facility at Basford Drive should the City’s application be successful.

The applications come following a recognition on behalf of the community that a focused approach to affordable housing is a priority for the City, said Fricot.

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She specified that the Basford project is still in its preliminary phase, and identified a number of steps that will have to be taken before construction begins. Among them are: a public consultation, a geotechnical survey, and council support for zoning and bylaw amendments.

“The Basford project is still very preliminary, and we identified Basford in the grant application we submitted,” said Fricot. “But we were clear in our application that a considerable amount of work needs to be done to prepare the site for development.”

A report presented to the City by Fricot and Nigel Whitehead, director of development services, explored a number of potential avenues for seeking funding for the Basford project in Sep. 2017. City staff received council support for the project in Oct. 2017.

While the timeline for the Basford development is uncertain, according to Fricot, O’Reilly said he is confident the RCHS will receive the funding the RCHS has applied for.

Barring a significant delay, he said the project should be completed by the spring of 2020.

“I feel very confident that we are going to get this funding,” said O’Reilly. “We’ve got two other projects within the same location and BC Housing is very familiar with who we are and what we do. We are looking forward to getting the project off the ground.”

He also said that outside of the fact that the City has agreed to lease them a parcel of land — and will have to subdivide that property — the RCHS project is its own independent project.

“We’ve applied for funding for our own project,” said O’Reilly. “If we get it then the City will not be involved.”

The city and RCHS applications come following the Union of B.C. Municipalities having released its housing strategy on Feb. 1.

The document called on all levels of government to take a focused approach to “address the housing issues British Columbia faces today.”

Both the city and the RCHS expect to hear back about their grant applications by March 31.

If the grant applications are successful, RCHS funds will be directed towards building a three-storey 21-unit apartment complex composed of one-bedroom units and bachelor suites. The Basford Drive complex will be a 50-unit development intended to house families.


@Jnsherman
jake.sherman@revelstokereview.com

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A satellite image of the proposed RCHS development in Southside. (file photo)

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