by Andru McCracken, Editor

It’s wonderful to see societies and organizations come together to share ideas and thoughts as we strategize around housing in Valemount.

Collaboration is a great way to find solutions. In almost every case, when non-profits collaborate instead of compete, we all gain. It’s a long time coming and we should all celebrate this historic beyond-box-peeping event, even if it was only only for one meeting. Congratulations to the housing commitee for making it happen.

There is something I hope this new unboxed collective can consider.

While we begin the slow process of planning for a new development, why not consider bigger, broader solutions that incorporate what Valemount already has in spades: single family homes occupied by a single person?

I don’t have a proposal as such, only the sliver of an idea (borrowed if I remember) and some questions.

According to census data there are 205 people in Valemount living alone. If we accept that most homes in Valemount have more than one bedroom it could be that we actually have a tonne of vacancy.

Is there an opportunity to build bridges between renters and potential landlords as roommates?

Could there be an opportunity to create a roommate authority, a sort of co-op that provides homeowners and roommates with some protection?

The benefits to homeowners with extra space would be pretty clear, a new source of income from a fixed asset, protection from bad actors, as the well as the support and peace of mind of having some institutional backing.

The benefits for potential roommates is pretty clear – a place to stay.

There has been much talk of creating a housing authority in Valemount to oversee and direct affordable housing and, ostensibly, keep it in good repair.

If only a fraction of Valemount’s solo dwellers chose to use the service (say 10%) it would create an equivalent of 20 units overnight.

It’s kind of a funny idea I’ll admit, but it speaks to a truth hiding in the numbers: as a community we are getting older and are more and more likely to be living alone. That’s something worth addressing on its own merit.