Valemount unusually vacant

By Andru McCracken,


Does your rental accomodation suck? Is your roommate a bad-smelling windbag? If so, an unusual number of vacancies in Valemount means it could be a good time for you to move.

Jennifer Applebaum, who manages more than 90 properties in Valemount, said this is the most vacancies she has had in two years – five with her alone and she knows of others.

The last time she had this many was when new housing was opened up in Juniper Square when a motel was renovated into eight smallish apartments by the Valemount Affordable Rental Society. They came open for rent in the middle of winter when demand is lowest.

“I can’t remember the last time I had houses, trailers and apartments of all different sizes available at the same time,” she said. “There is a good mix right now but very few people are looking.”

Applebaum said she doesn’t have a crystal ball as to what the future holds for vacancy, but she doesn’t think the vacancy rate will stay like this for long.

“It just takes one small project to change things, one business opening or seasonal stuff,” she said.

Applebaum said before long, seasonal firefighters will be looking for places to stay, followed quickly by rafting guides and CN Workers.

“We’ll see an influx in the next two months, and if anything happens with the pipeline, we will be full. If anything happens with the ski resort… it doesn’t take much to soak it all up,” she said.

Rents of the available spaces range from $495 to $1850 per month.

Currently Valemount Affordable Rentals Society is tendering a design-build project for 13 units. Chair of the society Riette Kenkel said it’s unclear when they’ll come online.

“It’s a lengthy process, so I’m going to guess a couple years,” she said.

Kenkel is confident there is a deep demand for housing in Valemount and the units will be subsidized.

“BC Housing will be subsidizing it so we can keep rents below market value, a different model than we currently have,” she said.

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