The Slocan City Suites
Using our Need & Demand study process, we listened to what Slocan Valley seniors wanted, valued, and could afford and we based our designs on that input. Our seniors wanted;
- 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 created the Slocan City Suites 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 with lofts, & 2 two-bedroom units without lofts.
- The Building footprints are 1588 ft², 1785 ft², and 2347 ft² respectively.
We incorporated some innovative design elements in this project that offer real value in creating affordable seniors’ housing.
- 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.
- 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 tenant eligibility criteria focuses 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 container garden spaces. Privacy and gardening is important to Slocan Valley seniors – who are used to living off the land.
- The efficient use of space allowed 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
- One of the one bedroom units with a loft is specially designed for seniors with accessibility issues.
- 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.
The location in the center of the Village of Slocan was chosen for a variety of factors most notably;
- 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 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 centres 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 did everything they could 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 leased 8 village lots for us to build on and rezoned it to residential. We have signed a 99-year land lease ($1/year).
- 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 granted $7,500 from their 2017-18 CIP funds to help install the very expensive sprinkler system. Plus they built a storage shed for our donated wood and now it is used for 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.
While there are still some tweaks to the project we estimate the total all in costs to be about $2,800,000 . With generous contributions from the below funders and supporters we now hold a manageable $641,145 mortgage.
Deep thanks goes to:
- BC Housing
- the Columbia Basin Trust
- the Village of Slocan who contributed thousands of dollars of funds, discounts and the land to build on
- the RDCK and Area H director Walter Popoff
- the Slocan Legion
- the Heritage Credit Union and Staff
- the Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission
- The Slocan Valley Community Legacy Society
- The Slocan Valley Economic Development Commission
- Pro-bono services of professional engineers, NDB construction, Leon Pigott legal, and Eric Clough who designed the project and was the chief consultant all the way through.
- the SVSHS Board of Directors
- and the Slocan Valley Community who raised over $43,000 on our Hike and Bike for Housing
We would not have been able to make this project happen without each and every one of these contributions. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
As of January 2019 15 senior tenants fully occupy all 12 apartments in the Slocan City Suites !
The Slocan City Suites is now built and all 12 units have been filled with happy tenants as of January 2019.
We encourage eligible prospective future tenants to complete an application so that we have a healthy list of people we may call on should an apartment come available. Sometimes there is only a two week turnover time to decide who will be the next tenant and we may not be able to wait for an application to be received before making our decision.
To download an application, please click this link . Instructions for completion are included in the application package.
Often people are curious about the criteria for tenancy at the Slocan City Suites. 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. Most importantly 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.
Support from our Elected Representatives
Along the way throughout the fundraising and building of this project it was critical to have support from our government representatives. Here are some of the things they said:
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.