- affordable, small apartments,
- centrally located in a village with amenities,
- access to nature
- access to public transportation,
- and they wanted a variety of options and unique designs.
After this considerable consultative process we have envisioned creating the following housing project in the Village of Slocan.
Three four-plexes , totaling 12 unit of affordable housing.
- One four-plex ( 1 story with lofts): containing 2 studio units and 2 one-bedroom units with lofts.
- One four-plex (1 story with lofts): containing 4 one-bedroom units with lofts.
- One four-plex (1 story): containing 2 one-bedroom units without lofts, & 2 two-bedroom units.
- The Building footprints are 1588 ft², 1785 ft², and 2347 ft² respectively.
- In terms of sustainability, the design with its economical footprint, heat recovery system , air source heat pumps and other sustainability features exceed LEEDS GOLD standards.
- There are some small variances from BC Housing’s design standards. Should we receive assistance from BC Housing, we will need to be flexible and could redesign should BC Housing request changes.
- 32% (2011)of the private households in the Slocan Valley were single person households, and 40% of were two person households. The prevalence of one and two person households means the targeted studio to 2-bedroom unit sizes of the proposed Slocan project could meet the housing needs of more than just seniors, if necessary. Our eligibility criteria will focus on low-moderate income seniors, but will be flexible to include other client groups should we need to fill a vacant apartment.
- All units have private entrances & privacy patios where tenants can create their own garden spaces. Privacy and gardening is important to Slocan Valley seniors – who are used to living off the land.
- The efficient use of space allows us to keep the units small yet functional and comfortable – and affordable. The energy efficient small footprint, heat recovery systems, and air-source heat pumps mean extremely low heating bills for residents. This project meets and exceeds LEEDS GOLD standards.
- Some seniors spoke loud and clear about the need for 2-bedroom units for senior couples. As well, our household incomes are extremely low compared to the provincial average and couples need affordable accommodations. So we created two 2-bedroom units to satisfy those needs.
- Two studio apartments will allow us to provide the most inexpensive housing possible to the most economically vulnerable seniors, and one of the units will be specially designed for disabled seniors.
- In particular, the lofts in eight of the units allow caregivers, guests, and family to stay for extended periods, and they also double as storage space. Our seniors love this feature.
- Our Valley has few population cores, and is strung out along a 100 km narrow mountain valley. Slocan is small (population approximately 300), quiet, and safe. It is centrally located in the valley and is ideal for seniors’ housing and activity. The village itself is easily accessible for those using canes and walkers, as it has paved roads, and it is flat – a rarity in this mountainous valley.
- Slocan has many amenities that seniors’ value. The proposed centrally located lots are within a block or two of grocery stores, service clubs, post office, village chambers, Slocan Lake beach, WEG Community School and Services, coffee shops/restaurants, community halls, the Slocan Valley Heritage Rail Trail, the Slocan Valley Historical Society, the Wellness/Fitness/Library centre and bus stops for public transportation to the rest of the valley and larger centers such as Nelson, Castlegar and Trail.
- Slocan is on the southern tip of Slocan Lake and has stunning natural beauty. Nature is extremely important to residents of all ages in the Slocan Valley and this setting will allow seniors to enjoy their senior years within an environment they love.
- Survey respondents indicated they would like to move to a Slocan Valley location that has nearby amenities, transportation and wifi, reducing isolation, and increasing their independence.
- Slocan is the only Slocan Valley community south of New Denver that offers medical services. Slocan’s nurse practitioner practices at the wellness centre located metres away from the proposed project.
- Seniors are safe moving about the central core of Slocan. In a sense, the village of Slocan becomes this development’s ‘common area’ reducing seniors’ isolation and encouraging intergenerational interaction.
- Slocan is a village in economic transition: the mill closure has had a great impact, yet it opens up new opportunities. Young people and retirees are moving in and buying homes. There is vibrancy and change in the air. Seniors’ housing will not only contribute to the economy and culture, but seniors will benefit greatly from all that Slocan has to offer.
- The Village of Slocan is excited about this project and wants to make it happen. They have done everything in their power to say “yes!” to whatever this project needs to be sustainable and affordable for valley seniors.
- The Village of Slocan has offered 8 village lots for us to build on and they have started the rezoning process. We have drafted an MOU and a 99-year land lease ($1/year) and are in the process of signing these documents.
- The Village of Slocan granted $4,500 of their 2015-16 CIP funds for a feasibility/business plan. They have allocated $15,000 in Village funds to improve the septic system this project will share with the Wellness Centre. They have granted $10,000 from their 2016-2017 CIP funds for bricks and mortar for this project. Plus they have built a storage shed for our donated wood and other pubic works storage.
- The Village of Slocan has held community consultation sessions and keeps an open door for us. This project would not be possible without such a willing and capable local government.
With the expertise that we have on our Board, we have taken on the role of being our own general contractor saving the project significant costs. As well, there is additional commitment of $90,000 in pro bono consulting services.
We believe our design suits the unique needs of our seniors who spend more time outdoors, need less space, like unique designs, and who have limited incomes and the Board is satisfied that this is a viable project with a high probability of success.
We are doing our best to raise as much funding as possible so that rents will be as affordable as possible. You may know that BC Housing is no longer subsidizing units (as they do at Passmore), though they are investing new funds in seniors’ housing where they would simply invest some funds in the new builds. This however is not an ongoing operating fund. We do not have a start or completion date for Slocan because the financing is not in place, though if some large blocks of funding come through, we are poised to build.
We have criteria for Passmore Lodge and are developing criteria for Slocan. We do place importance on a person’s ties to the Slocan Valley, family and friends. But that is not the sole criteria. We also consider need, health and other factors. A person must be able to live independently in our units, though of course as with any other renter anywhere, they can bring in home support or other support workers at their own cost.
We’re very very happy to announce that the provincial government (through BC Housing) has awarded a $500,000 grant toward the Slocan affordable housing project!!!!
While we still need to raise more money, secure mortgage funding, and do a million things to get ready, this half-million dollar grant is huge as we move ahead. Hooray!!!! If we can get everything in order by spring, we can start construction! Right in the heart of beautiful downtown Slocan!
All the organizations and people who have supported this project from the very beginning have made the difference as the big funders now come on board.
We couldn’t have done it without all the individuals and groups who helped out with the Hike or Bike for Housing. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the funders all along: the Village of Slocan, Slocan Valley Community Legacy Society, the Slocan Legion, Heritage Credit Union, Columbia Basin Trust, Area H of the RDCK, and the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission.
We’d like to make a special thank you to Tamara Smith and Eric Clough, who did so much of the incredible grunt work on the application to BC Housing, which has resulted in this very large grant.
And please, remember that it is never too late to make a donation. Your generosity always stuns and buoys us.
You can learn a lot about the housing society and its projects (Passmore Lodge and the Slocan project) at www.svhousing.ca.
And please like us on our facebook page and share this wonderful news with friends and relatives!
Rita Moir, President of the SVSHS
On behalf of all of us at the Slocan Valley Seniors’ Housing Society
Support from our Elected Representatives
I have met with the SVSHS board for a briefing on the 12 units, am familiar with the site in Slocan behind the Wellness Centre, and believe this project is worthy of support by all levels of government. They have worked hard in the community to inform and consult, have incorporated the community’s needs into their plans, and are quite far along in the planning.
As evidenced by the construction, management and maintenance of the beautiful Passmore Lodge, the society has a strong and much to be admired track record. Given that the board working on the Slocan project includes the same designer (Eric Clough) and a number of the original board members, I have great confidence in their ability once again to take a community dream and make it into a reality.
Like the Village council, I believe the seniors’ housing project is perfect for Slocan. The location behind the Library and Wellness Centre means the project is right in the middle of the village, and tenants will have walkable access to all the town’s amenities, including the grocery store, restaurants, post office, WE Graham Community Service Centre, the Legion (which is the village’s community hall), and the beautiful Slocan Lake and the nearby Slocan Valley Rail Trail which is used by many seniors.
I know many of the board members of the Seniors’ Housing Society, and can vouch for their commitment to the Slocan Valley and seeing this project to its conclusion.
As RDCK Director for the Slocan Valley, I have supported this project with pre-development funds for the Need and Demand Study, I’ve attended the public sessions seeking community input, and have attended follow-up open houses where designs were displayed and discussed with the public.
The Need and Demand Study identified that almost half the Slocan Valley population is age 50 or older. But there are only 20 dedicated units of seniors’ housing in the Valley.
As RDCK Area H director, and a member of the BC Seniors’ Advocate Council of Advisors, I commend and support the Society for taking the initiative to increase the amount of safe affordable seniors’ housing in the Slocan Valley.