by Andru McCracken, Editor

A lack of affordable housing is a problem facing many communities, but a new proposal to build 13 rental units could go a long way to solve the issue in Valemount.

Let’s put it in perspective with some numbers. According to the 2016 census, there are just 586 residences in Valemount and 499 residences occupied by ‘usual residents.’

What it means is that the project being pitched by the Valemount Affordable Rental Society could increase the number of full time residences by 2.5%. Typical occupancy in Valemount is 2 people per unit; Given the housing mix proposed, the new development could provide space for another 26 people.

A project with an equivalent impact in Vancouver would require 7,381 units.

What it means is that, with a fairly small investment, Valemount has the opportunity to grow and prosper like few other communities.

It’s a simple step to build our economy: making space for more people.

With new units available, it’s possible that some of the roughly 19 full time permanent jobs posted at the Valemount Learning Centre could be filled.

It’s not just an economic proposal, but the trickle down impact of new full time residents is immense. Beyond economics, every person and family in the village brings something new to the social fabric. Some bring new kids for the schools, some bring new skills and new vision. It means more players for teams, more choice in school and maintaining a vibrant community.

With any luck, Juniper Square will be the first of a number of developments that specifically cater to folks with plans to be long term residents. The Valemount Affordable Rentals Society proposal won’t solve every issue. Many folks would like to buy a home in Valemount; this won’t solve that, but it does go a long way to addressing the issue.

Fortunately for us, a group of volunteers in Valemount has stepped up to face the challenge, envisioning a better future and putting a plan into action. My hat is off for the volunteers working on the project.