Shuswap community purchases property for affordable housing project

Concept of the proposed Sicamous development was shown to the public in 2018

The District of Sicamous has purchased property within the community to support an affordable housing project.

On Thursday, Feb. 6, the district announced an offer to purchase property at 462/466 Finlayson Street had been accepted. The deep lot is adjacent to Eagle River Secondary and backs onto the Trans-Canada Highway.

It will be the site of a 36-unit affordable housing complex, developed in partnership with the Eagle Valley Senior Citizens Housing Society. Once the purchase of the land is finalized, the project will be funded by grants from BC Housing and the National Housing Strategy.

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The final sale of the property is conditional on the inclusion of the purchase in the district’s 2020 financial plan and approval from a judge because the property was up for a court-ordered sale.

The affordable housing project was unveiled in the summer of 2018 when the district and the housing society partnered on a BC Housing grant application for up to $100,000 per unit for housing construction. The grant, totalling $3.6 million, was approved in late 2018.

The concept shown to the public in 2018 featured both small, free-standing homes and townhouse-style multi-unit buildings. Other noticeable features were centralized parking centralized and a public building in the centre that would act as a gathering place for residents.

The units in the preliminary plan ranged from 650 to 1,050 square feet. The senior citizens’ housing society has expanded their mandate to provide housing for people other than seniors and will manage the affordable development.

Rhona Martin, president of the Eagle Valley Senior Citizens Housing Society, said they are excited to see the project progressing and the society board, particularly its newer members, are happy to be involved with it. Martin said they are hopeful the land deal will go through as planned and the project can proceed from there.

“Housing really a struggle at this point in time and this project is going to provide some seniors’ housing, some housing for people with disabilities and some low-income housing so it will be a nice mix,” she said.

The purchase of the property will be paid for using short-term financing through the Municipal Finance Authority of BC. The sale will be final 30 days after court approval is received.

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jim.elliot@saobserver.net

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