by EVAN MATTHEWS
The Village of McBride’s Pocket Community feasibility study is done, and though the homes may be tiny, the benefits could be huge.
In March, the Village received $10,000 via the B.C. Rural Dividend for a feasibility study. The now-completed study recommends a plan to implement compact, affordable, sustainable and efficient (CASE) housing for local residents.
Council accepted the study’s findings at its Jun. 14 meeting.
A Pocket Community is a grouping of smaller homes, typically located around a shared open space such as a garden or courtyard.
The feasibility study estimates manufacturing cost per unit to be roughly $19,921, though the sale price would fall between $38,000 and $65,000.
Expected direct benefits of the proposed development include job creation, economic diversification from forestry, retaining and attracting new residents, improved over quality of life for residents and increased Village tax base, according to the feasibility study.
Indirect benefits include youth jobs, specifically in construction and trades, a boost in tourism, and increase to the hospitality industry, according the study.
“It is our recommendation that the Village of McBride builds and incubates an enterprise that manufactures CASE homes in McBride, and develop pocket communities for affordable housing and tourism,” — McBride’s CASE Homes Feasibility Study
“It is our recommendation the Village of McBride builds and incubates an enterprise that manufactures CASE homes in McBride, and develop pocket communities for affordable housing and tourism… And creates a Residential Pocket Neighbourhood Zone to enable cluster housing,” the study reads.
“Population is declining, therefore the labour force is contracting. It is safe to assume people are leaving McBride to pursue jobs… Self-employed farmers are some of the largest employers in the area.
The units would be ideal for the accommodation and tourism industry, the study reads, as Air BnBs are becoming ever more popular in the region. The study suggests renting a CASE home for upwards of $165 a night.
Potential locations for the Pocket Community listed in the report include property owned by the hospital, the Shantz property, the lot kitty corner from the secondary school, and one other location owned by the municipality — location undisclosed.
There are many overarching goals of a pocket community including ensuring little waste during construction, while incorporating green technology and maintaining cost saving measures over the home’s life.
The idea is to promote a greater sense of community and interaction between residents without sacrificing green space, individuality or privacy, according to Mayor Loranne Martin.
Some of the target demographics for CASE homes, according to Martin, are seniors looking to downsize and people living with disabilities.
But the homes could also provide an affordable housing alternative by ensuring the units are not only affordable to buy or rent, but that they include eco (green) features that reduce maintenance cost, Martin says, thereby providing a better quality of life through reduced costs and a higher disposable income.
— With Goat files