Column: Good progress with South Shuswap housing, transportation non-profits

Director’s notes by Paul Demenok

Two new non-profit groups have recently been started in the South Shuswap, namely the South Shuswap Housing Society and the South Shuswap Transportation Society, and I’m very pleased to report that both are making very good progress.

The purpose of the South Shuswap Housing Society (SSHS) is to facilitate the provision of housing to populations in need in the South Shuswap, including research, design, funding, construction, maintenance and operations of housing units, including low-income accommodations, to advocate for the needs of those requiring housing and to raise funds to support all of the above.

A board of directors has been elected and includes Michael Shapcott as president, Nicholas Najda as VP, Barbra Fairclough as secretary, Sue Mc Crae as treasurer, and several directors-at-large including Rob Shakespeare, Elizabeth Peto, Howard Peto and myself. Several meetings have been convened and the group is now planning events to involve and educate the community in a variety of ways.

We are very pleased to note the CSRD has recently received a grant to conduct a housing needs assessment in Areas C and E, and it’s anticipated that non-profit groups in both electoral areas will be collaborating in this study. We believe this community is quite fortunate to have Michael and Nicholas involved as both of them have considerable experience in the provision of affordable housing. Most notably, Michael sits on the national board of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and has been involved in the development of thousands of low income housing units in Canada; Nicholas worked at BC Housing and has considerable experience and knowledge about housing in BC.

Read more: South Shuswap group pursuing electric vehicle for public transportation needs

Read more: CSRD approves grant application for electric vehicle

Read more: Council aims to ease plans for housing homeless in Shuswap

Read more: Five years ago, homeless man ‘had everything’

The purpose of the South Shuswap Transportation Society (SSTS) is to provide convenient, safe, affordable and personalized transportation services for the residents of the South Shuswap. Its board includes Ron Lane as president, Don Pryor as VP, Barbra Fairclough as secretary and Sharon Spearman as treasurer; directors-at-large include Byran Lowes, Bev Scott, Richard Bellman and myself.

Thus far SSTS has raised funds sufficient to purchase and install an electric vehicle charging station at Sorrento Tirecraft; we would like to publicly thank Dustin Harasym for making his facility available to us, and we hope to have the EV charging station operational within the next few months.

We are currently in the process of finalizing policies and procedures and writing grant applications to help fund the purchase of an electric vehicle. The plan is to provide door-to-door transportation services across the South Shuswap involving trained volunteer drivers operating the electric vehicle, and we hope to be operational with this early in the new year. The intention for this service is to provide low-cost transportation for those who are unable to drive, concerned about their driving capabilities or who cannot afford a car.

We feel this service will enable many to stay in their homes longer; it will provide great assistance to those requiring medical treatments or tests; it will allow those who can’t afford a car to take up training and jobs in Salmon Arm; and it may help people stay more involved in their community. A similar service is available in Sicamous and has been quite successful.

I’m very pleased to be involved with these two new non-profit groups as I feel they address important issues in our area and will both make substantial contributions to the quality of life for residents in the South Shuswap. If you are interested in joining either group, please contact Barbra Fairclough; for the SSHS send your email to housingsocietysouthshuswap@gmail.com and for the SSTS the email address is sstransportationsociety@gmail.com.

-Paul Demenok is the Area C Director for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District


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