Salmon Arm is taking another step to help encourage affordable housing in the community.
City council agreed on Monday night, May 13 to take $100,000 from an affordable housing reserve to contribute to the affordable rental housing project at 250 Fifth Avenue SW.
In November last year, the provincial government announced that the Shuswap/Revelstoke region of the Canadian Mental Health Association would receive $3 million to provide 70 affordable rental units for families and seniors.
The city has also undertaken zoning changes to accommodate more affordable housing options, including plans being considered by BC Housing to build 40 units with on-site supports at the Fifth Avenue site for people who are homeless.
In making the motion to contribute $100,000 towards development cost charges (DCCs) for the 70-unit project, Coun. Louise Wallace Richmond noted: “The opportunity to rent geared-to-income housing and possibly supportive housing in Salmon Arm at the proposed location is literally priceless.”
However, she added, the city’s pockets are only so deep. She referred to council’s creation of a $200,000 affordable housing reserve last year.
“That step in and of itself was huge, as Council Eliason said, this never used to be our job…”
Wallace Richmond said $60,000 of the reserve will go to community housing and $100,000 to DCCs, leaving a bit of a cushion for other opportunities.
“We have to remember, in the longer term there may be tax exemptions requested, so there’s an opportunity cost in terms of revenue for us.”
Mayor Alan Harrison said the city wishes to do its part.
“We feel it’s a piece we can do.”
Devan Cronshaw, project planner with Makola Development Services, wrote to council in April to request assistance from the city in payment of some or all of the required DCCs for the project.
“While the City of Salmon Arm has approved a development permit for a 97-unit development, the proposed project will include a total of 105 units as BC Housing is currently exploring the opportunity to build approximately 40 additional units with onsite supports on the same property.”
Cronshaw said the expected DCCs for the full 105-unit project would be $636,722.55.