By Andru McCracken

VARS’ first priority was to develop rental units for Valemount College, this is the interior of one of two fully furnished rental suites that is ready to go. /ANDRU MCCRACKEN

The Valemount Affordable Rentals Society’s first priority was to solve the issue of student housing for Valemount College, and with that project almost complete the society has now turned its sights onto its next project: a 13 unit housing complex.

According to Riette Kenkel, the society’s president, the multi-level development will have 3 single bedroom apartments dedicated to seniors and 10 two bedroom apartments for small families.

The society has applied to BC Housing to fund the project.

“We hope to find out in November whether or not we are successful. If we are, we will roll up our sleeves,” she said.

The complex has yet to be designed, a task Kenkel said would be undertaken by a developer after the grant is awarded.

The society plans to build the complex on its property adjacent to the old Ramakada, and they have given the suite of properties and buildings the name Juniper Square.

The 13 units and its configuration to accommodate seniors and families stems from a housing needs assessment undertaken by the village.

“There are needs in every sector, there are needs for seniors, needs for families, needs for singles, needs for short term workers that come to Valemount; there will be needs for students,” said Kenkel.

Kenkel said the units are for people and families with low to moderate incomes, ranging from minimum wage to $70,000 per year.

News of the development broke at the Valemount Affordable Rental Society’s annual general meeting on October 24th.

Rashmi Narayan, chair of the village’s Affordable Housing Committee said the project is welcome news.

“Any housing that comes into the market, in general, will help the whole housing continuum,” she said.

“It addresses a need for rental housing.”

Narayan said that the housing committee is looking at a separate project that will be a combination of rental and ownership units.