Seventy units of affordable rental housing for families, seniors and people with disabilities are proposed for this site in Salmon Arm, and possibly another 40 units of supportive housing for people who are homeless. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

Council aims to ease plans for housing homeless in Shuswap

Forty units for homeless in Salmon Arm considered by BC Housing plus 70 units of affordable rentals

More affordable rental housing and help for people who are homeless is in the works for Salmon Arm.

The City of Salmon Arm is undertaking zoning changes to accommodate more affordable housing options, including plans being considered by BC Housing to build 40 units with on-site supports at 250 Fifth Ave. SW for people who are homeless.

In a letter to neighbouring property owners, BC Housing explains that the 40 units would be in addition to 70 units of affordable rental housing for families, seniors and people with disabilities that the Canadian Mental Health Association, which is purchasing the property, plans to build.

B.C.’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs announced in November last year that in Salmon Arm, CMHA Shuswap-Revelstoke would receive $3 million for 71 homes.

Read more: Salmon Arm, Sicamous to get $3 million for affordable housing projects

Read more: Homeless tenters must move for four-laning preparation

A report from city planning staff to council refers to the funding CMHA received for the units proposed for Fifth Avenue SW.

“These (approximately 70) units meet the definition of multiple family housing permitted in the R-5 zone. BC Housing is currently exploring the opportunity to build approximately 40 additional units with on-site supports on the same property. If this zoning bylaw amendment is adopted by city council, these additional units would be permitted at this site.”

City council members spoke in favour of the changes to the R4, medium density, and R5, high density residential zones at their April 10 planning meeting. The changes would help accommodate the proposal for the Fifth Avenue SW property, as well as any similar future developments. ‘Assisted living housing’ and ‘dining area’ would be added to the permitted uses in the zones and an increase of maximum density would be allowed.

BC Housing states that it understands the zoning would permit, in terms of its plans for housing those who are homeless: “daily common meal preparation using commercial cooking facilities, dining area and laundry facilities, with health services accommodated on-site including individualized case planning to further develop life and social skills such as employment planning and managing the transition to independence and recovery.”

More information on its supportive housing is available at: www.bchousing.org/community-supportive-housing.

In its letter to neighbouring properties, BC Housing states it will reach out to the community again once the project moves forward. “In the meantime, we welcome questions and comments to: communityrelations@bchousing.org.”

Read more: Young professionals leaving Vancouver over high cost of housing

Read more: 2018 – City put money aside for affordable housing

Read more: B.C. premier says affordable housing crunch hurts growth, families, province

The city staff report explains the changes would broaden the range of housing options within the two zones and are supported by the official community plan. Part of the rationale for the changes is in response to the government’s privatizing of various types of residential care facilities. Previously, such a facility was only allowed in the city’s institutional zone.

The planning and development services meeting is the first step; now the zoning changes are forwarded to a meeting of council.


@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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The Canadian Mental Health Association Shuswap-Revelstoke received $3 million in funding from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing for 71 units for affordable rental housing for families, seniors and people with disabilities in Salmon Arm. (File photo)

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