One Step Closer To Affordable Housing In Kaslo
After KHS’ assessment of several potential sites over the past few years, Kaslo Village Council has agreed to support the Society’s proposal to develop affordable rental housing at the A Avenue site behind the Kemball Memorial Centre.
Since the fall of 2020, KHS has been busy assessing the suitability of the site, has commissioned an architect to prepare a schematic design, and has initiated public consultation. We are grateful to Village of Kaslo Council and staff and the Kaslo Infonet Society for their input while we conducted feasibility studies, and to CBT and New Market Funds’ Investment Readiness Program for their financial support during this pre-development phase.
In January, KHS submitted an application to the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, the intake for which closed on January 15,th 2021. The proposed project (working title: Penny Lane Apartments), a 10-unit 3 storey wood frame building, has a projected cost of about $3.5 million. If KHS’ application to BC Housing is successful, the Community Housing Fund’s monetary contribution will be a grant of over a million dollars; the bulk of the remainder of the development costs will be covered by a mortgage. BC Housing would also contribute an ongoing operating subsidy to ensure that 7 of the 10 units will be affordable to residents who have very low or low-to-moderate incomes.
We are grateful to our partner, New Commons Development, for their work on this important project. New Commons Development is a non-profit Real Estate developer with a lot of experience in BC, whose main goal and focus is to increase the supply of community-owned affordable housing. Since 2019, their director Dion Whyte has, within the scope of their new Small Communities Initiative programme, been working tirelessly with us in a true team effort to build capacity within our community.
The proposed building is located in the downtown Heritage Zone, and our UK trained architect Christine Ross, from the East shore of Kootenay Lake, has a lot of experience working in historical contexts. She has drawn up plans for a 3 storey building with a form and character designed to bridge the transition between the major historical buildings to the west and the homes in the residential zone to the east of the site. Ross’ current design reflects input received by Kaslo Housing Society through several public consultation opportunities and ongoing discussions with Kaslo Village staff and Council.
As our building is meant to support the varying housing needs of our community – from single workers, elderly residents, individuals with mobility challenges to families with children – the initial building design features 2 studio units, 5 one-bedroom units, 2 two-bedroom units and 1 three-bedroom unit units. Of course, as the need for affordable and accessible housing in our community is great, we are eagerly and hopefully awaiting a positive BC Housing decision in spring 2021, which will give us the green light to go ahead with this long-awaited project.