Province announces purchase of Mount Begbie Elementary School site for affordable housing

The B.C. housing ministry has purchased the old Mount Begbie Elementary School site from the Revelstoke Board of Education and is looking to work with the community to develop affordable housing on the site.

An aerial view of the Mount Begbie Elementary School site purchased by the provincial housing ministry. Photo: Google Maps

The B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced on Feb. 8 that they have purchased the Southside property that used to house the Mount Begbie Elementary School and they plan to locate an affordable housing project on the site.

A news release from the ministry said they purchased the 1.21-hectare site on Downie Street from the Revelstoke Board of Education for $1.5 million.

“Our government knows that housing affordability is a serious concern for people in Revelstoke,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Addressing that concern takes a government that is committed to working with partners to deliver the housing that people need. With this land, we will be able to work closely with the city, residents and local businesses to create housing that benefits people, local businesses and the entire community.”

In a statement, the ministry said “the property is large enough to accommodate a range of housing projects that could benefit tourism industry employees, low- to moderate-income families and seniors.”

BC Housing said it will work with the city, local partners and the surrounding community to develop a comprehensive strategy to deliver much-needed affordable housing for families, seniors and youth working in the area.

“The board recognizes the capacity and resources that BC Housing can bring to bear in support of housing in our community and we are pleased that one of the board’s sites can support this initiative in our community,” said Bill MacFarlane, chair, Revelstoke Board of Education. “We are confident that this work will build on the earlier community consultations done by our board.”

In the next few months, BC Housing will issue a request for proposals for a planning consultant to lead the public engagement and concept development for the site.

In a statement, Revelstoke mayor Gary Sulz said the project is an opportunity to work towards more affordable housing. “This project is an opportunity for us to work together to create housing that works for the community, supporting local families, businesses and seniors.”

Aaron Orlando is a Revelstoke-based journalist who serves as creative director of and Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. He's been on the news beat in Revelstoke for the past 14 years, serving in senior editorial roles. If you have or call/text him at 250-814-8710.