The Columbia Shuswap Regional District board will issue a letter of support to Okanagan College for the development of a student residence on the site of the Salmon Arm campus.
Joan Ragsdale, Okanagan College’s regional dean for Shuswap and Revelstoke, requested the letter of support from the board to include with their application to the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training for student housing.
The proposal is for a 60-unit development which would include furnished single and multi-pod units with shared kitchens and common areas.
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Ragsdale told the board enrolment at the Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus has increased 16 per cent over the past five years and the availability of student housing is a growing need. She noted the proposed housing would improve access to education for students and help attract international students to the region.
A student residence would also help alleviate some pressure on the availability of housing in the Shuswap, which is currently experiencing a low vacancy rate. During summer months, the residence would be available to the community, possibly helping business owners with labour accommodation shortages.
In supporting the motion, Salmon Arm director Chad Eliason said: “To grow the economy in our region, housing is one of the biggest hold-backs. For jobs, for tourism – all of that needs housing… We need to support an initiative like this which could bring a new option for affordable housing to our area.”
CSRD directors voted unanimously in favour of submitting the requested letter of support.
Okanagan College will be submitting its business case to the ministry at the beginning of September.