Gary Arsenault of Green Emerald Construction, which will be building the homes in VRS’s Shuswap Village on 11th Street SE, holds an artist’s rendering of the community centre in the development. (Martha Wickett/Salmon Arm Observer)

New ‘active living’ development in Salmon Arm planned for 65+ residents

Information meeting Jan. 15 on plan to preserve home equity, allow people to age at home

A new ‘active-living’ housing development for people aged 65+ is planned for Salmon Arm.

Named Shuswap Village, a possible 80 to 100 units are envisioned for an approximate nine-acre parcel on 11th Street SE, near Okanagan Avenue.

The project is described online as being developed “with the sole purpose of enabling aging adults to both preserve their home equity and to remain in their own homes and community as they age.”

VRS, which stands for Vancouver Resource Society, is a non-profit that will be operating and overseeing the site.

VRS has been providing housing solutions to youth and adults with disabilities as well as the seniors population for almost 50 years, says Martin Gardner, senior director of operation and business development. It recently took over Shuswap Lodge in Salmon Arm.

Gardner said what the society is offering is unique, and “we’re pretty excited about selecting Salmon Arm.”

Factors that brought them to Salmon Arm include its rankings as one of the most livable places in Canada and as a great place to work.

“We found the right piece of land and the right partners,” he says.

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Green Emerald Construction has been hired to build Shuswap Village. Green Emerald owner Gary Arsenault says VRS is very good at what it does, so people can be confident the development will be run properly.

Gardner said VRS’ aim is to make the units attainable for people to buy, as they vary in size from 500 square feet up to 1,600. VRS will also own a significant number of units, he says, so those will be rented.

Shuswap Village will include a community centre that will be the hub of the development. Gardner explains he grew up on a farm that was far away from the town, so the community hall was the hub for all kinds of social events and interactions.

Other features of the development will be: environmentally responsible buildings and practices; active, healthy living, as well as connection with nature; and technology in ‘smart’ houses that can minimize risks of living alone.

VRS and Green Emerald Group will be holding three information sessions on Wednesday, Jan. 15. They will be at 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Prestige Harbourfront Resort. The public is welcome.

Gardner said VRS would like Shuswap Village to be a phased development, so they want to measure people’s interest in the project. As well, they’d like to gather feedback on the project as they fine-tune it.

“We think that we’re on to something, so we’re pushing people to engage on Jan. 15 – to meet the builder, to meet the team at VRS,” says Gardner.

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An artist’s rendering of Shuswap Village, an active living community planned for adults 65-plus to be located on 11th Street SE. (VRS image)

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