Moore says the project planners want to hear from the public about the project at a meeting in early March. Photo: John Boivin

Affordable housing project moves ahead; public to review plans

Details to be finalized for project on old Emcon lot

Rossland residents are going to be asked just what they’d like to see in a housing project designed to ease the affordability crunch in the city.

The project, sponsored by the Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society and City of Rossland, is set to be built on the old Emcon lot off Columbia Avenue.

“This is going to be a big project for Rossland, so we want to get everybody’s thoughts on it,” says the city’s mayor, Kathy Moore.

The preliminary concept plan for the project is a four-storey, mixed-use project. The ground floor portion will be non-residential, commercial use. The second, third, and fourth storeys will consist of up to 36 residential units, comprised of a mix of studio, one, two, and three-bedroom units.

There’s only a rough price tag set on the project — somewhere between $6 million and $9 million. Moore says that’s because the design, and what’s going to happen to the first floor, hasn’t been finalized.

“It’s still kind of early to talk about hard-and-fast numbers because we don’t have a hard-and-fast design,” she says. “Will it be 24 or 36 units? Three or four stories? That’s also what we want public input on. Do they think that’s a good mix? There are a number of things we’ll be taking input on.”

One thing that is certain is the project will be to create some affordable housing stock in the city.

“Rossland is an affordable community in comparison to places like Vancouver,” she says. “But for some people, who are working in service jobs or hospitality jobs, or in retail, any of those jobs that are more on the lower-end of the pay scale, it’s really hard for them to find an affordable place to live in Rossland.

“And as a community, we want to maintain a diverse range of income levels in town. We don’t want to be just an enclave for rich old folks.”

The housing would not only be open to lower-wage workers.

“It’s also open to retirees who have worked here too. So we are trying to get a full range of the population that meets certain income requirements (which we have not figured out yet),” she says.

“So it’s for people who have jobs, who are working the community, or who have worked in the community. Basically, our friends and neighbours.”

The city won’t put tax dollars into the project. However, as the owner of the land the building will go on, and as a potential anchor tenant in the main floor, it does have a stake in the development. Whether city hall should be moved to that location is another idea to be discussed at the upcoming public meeting — something that would affect taxpayers.

But the project won’t go ahead without funding commitments from the Columbia Basin Trust and BC Housing, she emphasizes.

The main point of the meeting is to get input and ensure people understand the project and the history of the lot, says Moore.

“Part of it is to help the public understand the need,” she says. “And people tend to not like change. There was quite a bit of resistance when the skatepark went in, but once it went in and everybody saw how much the children love it, we see no complaints about that.

“So we are thinking that’s going to be the same response to this.”

The size of the proposed project — three or four stories — may put off some viewers too, until they consider the neighbourhood, says Moore.

“People may say ‘oh my God, that’s a big building,’ but I don’t think that’s going to be the case,” she says. “It’s going to be about as tall as the peak of the arena next door, and across the street there’s the large RSS school. So it’s not like it’s going to be a Sears Tower looming over everything.”

The Lower Columbia Affordable Housing Society has launched a search for a project manager for the development, and has been working with an architectural firm from Vancouver to develop initial plans.

“The city is not a developer, so we are not taking this on with our own staff,” says Moore. “We turn to professionals so this project is a success.”

The public meeting is scheduled for March 5 at the Miners’ Hall in Rossland.

Just Posted

Core funding to boost spending on tourism services for Rossland

Resort Municipalities grants will pay for a public washroom, better signage, and shuttle services

Third cannabis store in Greater Trail opens next week

The City of Trail has had six applications from non-medical pot retailers to date

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

How the Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure affected you

Here’s what readers had to say about the company’s shutdown

Craft cannabis development planned for Castlegar

Plans are underway for one of the first craft cannabis industrial parks in the province.

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

West Kootenay U16 Rebels take home provincial gold

West Kootenay Rebels fastball team battle hard to win the BC U16C Fastball Championship

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Most Read