I’d like to start off by painting a brief picture:
Imagine you just moved Revelstoke, you and your partner have jobs and are staying with friends while you look for a place to live. Every rental you come across is overpriced and the only houses coming up for sale are old homes that would require thousands of dollars in renovations or large single-family homes that you cannot afford and are too large for your needs. You are at a point in your life where you wish to purchase a small, humble home in a quiet neighbourhood outside of the city centre, however there are simply no homes that will meet your needs and budget. Not wanting to overstay your welcome with your friend, or settle and waste money on a sub-par rental in the city, you are stuck with very limited to no options. The stress is real.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Unfortunately, this kind of situation is all too common for the up and coming generations of the Revelstoke community.
The purpose of my letter today is to shine a perspective in favour and support of the Hay Road development for a number of reasons directly related to the consistently accumulating community concerns regarding the housing market within Revelstoke, clarifying some key points surrounding this proposal in an attempt to unify our communal perspective.
Here is a quick summary of the key issues community members have expressed over the years:
- Lack of diversified housing (i.e. too many unaffordable single-family homes and not enough apartments, town homes, duplexes etc.)
- Current available rentals are typically within old houses and rented at egregious prices for what they are worth (i.e. old houses with poor insulation, in bad shape with owners unwilling to renovate due to desperate demand, or built with hazardous materials)
- There are too many vacation and short-term rentals in the current market and not enough long-term rentals available
The newly proposed Hay Rd. development by Stoked Living has gone above and beyond in addressing not only all of the above housing market issues, but also all the concerns that the neighbourhood and local residents have brought forward.
Most, if not all of these concerns have been directly addressed in their FAQs page on their website, via face-to-face conversations and developer-led neighbourhood meetings.
To summarize a few key reasons why the community should be in favour of this development:
- None of the zoning of this development will allow for vacation or short-term rentals
- It is zoned as low density with the goal of trying to achieve passive grade homes (reducing GHGs and utility costs by 90 per cent)
- It includes a mix of single-family, duplex, and townhouses in line with current housing demands of Revelstoke
- 10 of the 19 town homes are pledged to be long-term rentals for 10-12 years
- The development aligns with council priorities surrounding sustainability, housing affordability, and livability
- The developer is willing to work with the city and contribute to infrastructure improvements triggered by the development (i.e. building sidewalks for pedestrians and a new sewer line to which existing neighbours can connect to)
- The number of units was reduced from 67 to 60 because of feedback received and plans modified to include a larger landscape buffer, increasing green spaces and moving them closer to existing neighbours, and implementing trail connections and public parks.
Per the many surveys completed in Revelstoke surrounding housing demands over the last few years, we do not need more unsustainable (and eco-unfriendly) single-family homes in areas where starting prices of these homes are valued around $1 million and completely unaffordable.
Additionally, with the Community Housing Strategy, the city has already commenced the process of addressing the other housing issues, including access to low income housing.
What Stoked Living have done is identified and targeted the need for diversified and attainable housing for the middle to high-income resident.
This is one of the only times that we have really seen a developer truly listen and engage with the community, take the feedback and address concerns and actually modify the plans to suit the needs of the community, rather than building the development for pure monetary or personal gain.
Taking it one step further, they have recently posted two short, informative videos on their website outlining both the benefits of Stoked Living and meeting local challenges.
I would strongly encourage the community to read through the recent council report released on Aug. 11 to gain a better understanding of the housing agreement between the city and Stoked Living.
The current reality of the economic growth in Revelstoke due to factors such as tourism, enhanced style of living, more working opportunities (it’s why we’re all here, right?!) all contributes to the inevitable upward trending demand for attainable housing and we need to start recognizing that Revelstoke simply cannot remain the same small town it may have been a number of decades ago.
I hope that we, as a community, can start looking at the bigger picture of Revelstoke’s future and work together to build a housing future that is inclusive of all families, locals, future locals and generations to come.
Matthew Cherry, Revelstoke