Kevin Dorrius of Community Futures says it’s kind of a catch – 22.
He wants to bring a $18 million 100 unit residential housing dormitory style facility to Revelstoke to provide affordable housing for frontline workers, but doesn’t see it being possible to do so in short amount of time at under $1000 a unit.
Even so, Dorrius says workers wouldn’t necessarily be the ones expected to fit the full bill.
He says the idea would be to rent to employers, who have expressed a need to house frontline workers, and that if things go according to plan, construction could break ground next spring.
“The idea is to rent to the businesses and then they have a unique opportunity,” said Dorrius. “If they need to attract staff they can subsidize part of the housing as a taxable benefit. Basically, at this cost structure it would go for $12,000 a year for business’ and they can use it as staff housing.”
The project has been in the works for over a year and has grown out of a conversation between Community Futures, WorkBC, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, the Chamber of Commerce and other local businesses.
Dorrius says it is about as close to ready as it could be without formal approval from the City and the landowner who has expressed interest.
“We’ve got as close to a shelf ready project without it being formally ready to go as possible,” said Dorrius. “We have a model, and a piece of land, and there is a pathway forward on this if we can get the community to back this kind of project.”
The project would be based on a dormitory style development in Kelowna.
The bachelor suites would be priced at $1000 each. That would include furnishing, utilities and high speed internet.
The units would be fully self contained and have their own kitchens and bathrooms.
Dorrius says the facility would be suitable for housing frontline workers like those who work in hospitality and Tourism. But Dorrius also says it would be suitable for employees who are in a transition period and just moving to Revelstoke.
“A lot of the people who come here are lift attendants, servers, retail workers, but it could also be a transition for people who have just found a new job,” said Dorrius.
He says a plot of land has been identified, and that a local land owner has expressed interest in the project.
A survey has been open for about a month to gather information about the project and received about 90 responses.
The intention of the survey is to ask: Is this something you would live in?
“If it is too much money then we need to come up with a more creative solution,” said Dorrius. “With the community’s support we can get going on this.”