McBride explores Pocket Community possibility

RMG file photo of McBride from above. / Matthew Wheeler

by EVAN MATTHEWS 

McBride is in the process of developing its own “pocket” full of sunshine.

McBride has a new project with Provincial support in the form of $10,000 via the B.C. Rural Dividend. The $10,000 is for McBride to explore and develop a “pocket community,” with the grant designated for a study that will recommend a plan to implement compact, affordable, sustainable and efficient (CASE) housing for local residents.

“A Pocket Community is usually defined as a grouping of smaller residences,” says Dave Townsend, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

But it’s not just about the size of the homes according to McBride’s Mayor, Loranne Martin, but also about the garden, so to speak.

Pocket neighborhoods are typically clustered groups of neighboring houses or apartments gathered around a shared open space such as a garden or courtyard.

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, she says.

“A Pocket Community is usually defined as a grouping of smaller residences,” says Dave Townsend, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

“The idea is to promote a greater sense of community and interaction between residents without sacrificing green space, individuality or privacy,” says Martin.

“The units have to be built to the BC Building Code, but given their size can be transported to permanent locations,” she says.

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.

The units would also be ideal for the accommodation and tourism industry, Martin added, as Airbnb’s are becoming ever more popular in the region.

“Community groups and individuals for the CASE project provided a great volume of input,” Martin says. “The next steps will see Village Administration prepare the project for tender.”

McBride’s $10,000 is one of 77 successful project development grants during the second application intake, according to the Province, with over $756,000 going to eligible communities, First Nations and non-profits under the three-year B.C. Rural Dividend grant program.

The funding, which is $25 million per year over three years, is available in four categories including community capacity building, workforce development, community and economic development, and business-sector development, with McBride qualifying under the community capacity building category.

The B.C. Rural Dividend is designed to help eligible rural communities diversify and strengthen their economies and contribute to their overall wellness and sustainability. It is also intended to contribute to the strength and sustainability of small rural communities, according to the Province.

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