The City of Revelstoke is seeking funding for a two-part plan that will look at affordable housing and a new multi-use facility at the golf course that could include a climbing gym and squash courts.
“This is a study where we’re looking what the feasibility of this is and we’re looking to see if this could work,” Nicole Fricot, the city’s director of economic development, told the Review.
Fricot wrote an application for $100,000 in funding from the B.C. Rural Dividend Fund for the Revelstoke Tourism Plan, whose objective is to engage in tourism planning by developing a comprehensive housing strategy and a plan for a multi-use facility at the Revelstoke Golf Club.
The two seemingly disparate projects are part of one funding application.
“Over the last several years Revelstoke has experienced unprecedented levels of tourism growth,” states Fricot’s application. “Revelstoke’s ability to continue to attract tourists is heavily dependent on it’s ability to provide both housing and recreation opportunities.”
The first part of the plan is to develop a housing strategy that would look at best practices, policy initiatives, and promotion of employee housing initiatives.
“By creating a comprehensive housing strategy, we hope to address a key issue that is negatively impacting Revelstoke’s ability to grow tourism, attract residents and support business growth in all sectors: lack of affordable housing,” states the application.
Partners in the housing plan include the city, Revelstoke Housing Society, Community Futures, Revelstoke Mountain Resort and the Revelstoke Accommodation Association.
“That piece is about ensuring we have all the information we can on how to address housing. That’s including recommendations on policy changes, on possible bylaw changes, and looking at employee housing and affordable housing projects,” said Fricot. “I think we’ve been looking at it as one piece here, one piece there. I think we need to look at it as a whole and say, ‘We need to move on this, how do we move forward on this and how do we do it in the most planned and efficient way possible.’”
The second part of the plan is to develop a new multi-use facility at the Revelstoke Golf Club that would include squash courts, a climbing gym and restaurant. The Revelstoke Squash Club recently sought tourism infrastructure funding to develop a new facility, while the Revelstoke Climbing Society has been public in their search of space for a world-class climbing gym.
As a community that has tourism as key industry, we need to look at amenity creation,” said Fricot. “That side is looking at our recreational amenities and seeing which ones may need help in the future.”
Fricot’s application says the plan would help ensure the golf course’s sustainability and increase Revelstoke’s tourism draw.
“We believe the ability of the Revelstoke Golf Course to be economically sustainable requires a new approach to the facility,” she wrote in her application. “Turning the golf course into a multi-use facility that includes squash and rock climbing will not only meet the community need of sustaining and expanding it’s recreational draw but also ensure the long term viability and resiliency of the current facility.”
Fricot said other amenities could be part of the facility, depending on what the plan comes up with. They would need to be compatible with the golf club. “The other activities should hopefully be ones that focus on the winter,” she said. “That’s where suqash and climbing become really interesting because the majority of users would be looking at it in the winter.”
The application is only for funding to develop the tourism plan and wouldn’t cover capital costs associated with developing either project. The plan is expected to cost $130,000 to develop; the city already has $15,000 budgeted for a housing strategy and grants are being sought to cover the rest.
If funding is received, the plan would be created throughout the rest of 2017 and 2018 and would include community consultation.
Council was to discuss the proposal at its meeting on Tuesday, May 23, after press time. The Review will have more on this story following the meeting.