Housing Society asks for land in trust for affordable housing project

A commitment of land is needed in order for the Revelstoke Community Housing Society to seek funding opportunities.

The Revelstoke Community Housing Society says it needs a commitment of land from the City of Revelstoke in order to move forward with funding opportunities. Photo:RCHS

The Revelstoke Community Housing Society is asking the City of Revelstoke to dedicate a parcel of land in trust so they can move ahead with a 20 unit affordable housing project.

Glen O’Reilly, chair of the Revelstoke Community Housing Society (RCHS) gave brief presentation during the regular council meeting on December 12.

“In order to move forward we need a commitment of a parcel of land. We are expecting an affordable funding announcement from the government any day,” said O’Reilly.

A commitment of land, including a letter of support, is required in order for the RCHS to seek funding through BC Housing. O’Reilly said one funding opportunity has already been missed because the RCHS doesn’t have a commitment of land. He described the current situation as a dog chasing its tail with funding not available without land and land not available without funding.

“We’re not asking [the city] to give us land, we’re asking the city to give us land in trust,” said O’Reilly. “It’s a Catch 22. Someone needs to break that Catch 22. BC Housing wants us to have land, if there is no land we can’t get funding, with no funding can’t get a proposal. We don’t have money to do the proposal. I’m not sure how much more clear be on this?”

A letter from the RCHS was discussed later at the council meeting. In that letter O’Reilly writes the RCHS, “would like to be prepared with a ‘shelf-read’ project concept to respond to a call for proposals.”

Councillor Aaron Orlando, who sits on the Revelstoke Community Housing Society board, said there are technicalities that need to be worked through if the city is going to donate land in trust.

“There are a lot of technical details and legal issues that need to be worked through so everybody can be clear,” he said.

Affordable housing has remained a significant issue in Revelstoke. WorkBC Revelstoke recently held a round-table discussion with local employers. Mayor Mark McKee said there continues to be a concern within the business community about a lack of affordable housing for staff.

“I don’t have to remind council how I feel about affordable housing. I think we should be doing something and the community is in crisis and I think it’s just going to get worse,” he said.

Council voted to have the planning department work with the RCHS to iron out details of the request for land in trust.

Melissa Jameson is the civic affairs reporter for the Revelstoke Mountaineer. She handles the newsy side of goings on about Revelstoke. Got a news tip? Feel free to contact Melissa at melissa@revelstokemountaineer.com