Municipality endorses employee housing proposal

Project proposes 109 units for rent and purchase, looks to break ground by spring
The development would be built on the land behind the community mailboxes. Photo SPIN.

Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) council has endorsed an employee housing project to create non-market ownership and rental options in the community.

In July, council was given an affordable housing plan that identified Parcel 74, the area behind the community mailboxes near Burfield Dr., as land for new non-market development. Since then, the municipality has received more details on construction and was presented with a proposal during a council meeting on Oct. 4.

“[This project] is our best chance of bringing stock into the market quickly,” said Shane Bourke, SPMRM’s chief administrative officer, in the meeting. “If work proceeds over the winter, there is interest in breaking ground in the spring just to see some progress on this project quickly.”

The land is owned by Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR), which offered to contribute the parcel at a nominal cost on the basis that 40 per cent of the non-market housing would be available for rent or purchase by resort employees. The other 60 per cent of units would be reserved for staff who work a minimum of 30 hours a week for an employer located in the municipality in good standing with Tourism Sun Peaks.

The apartment rentals would be financed, built and managed by A&T Project Development Inc. The developer supports a covenant to ensure the units will be available for employees.

The proposal includes apartments for rent or ownership purchase, as well as townhomes for ownership purchase.

A screenshot of the proposed site plan.

The apartments for rent would include 68 units — seven studios at 420 square feet, 41 one-bedroom units at 602 square feet and 20 two-bedroom units at 840 square feet. The building would be six stories with surface parking.

For the rental units, the municipality would waive 70 per cent of development cost charges, which are fees collected on new developments to pay for infrastructure such as sewer, water or roads. SPMRM would also provide a 10-year property tax exemption on the building.

The apartments for ownership purchase would include 26 units in a four storey building with surface parking. The townhome units for ownership purchase would include 15 units — three buildings with five three-bedroom units with garages.

A&T Project Development would assist with financing and pre-sales of all ownership purchase units, but future sales would be facilitated by the Sun Peaks Housing Authority and the municipality. Development cost charge waivers and tax exemptions would not be considered for these buildings.

The project will return for council’s input many times as it progresses, but the proposal required endorsement because resources will be needed as the developer moves into the feasibility stage over the fall and winter.

“We have a long way to go to understand fundamental viability on the project,” said Gary Reed, vice president development of A&T, at the meeting. “I’m sure everyone’s curious as to what the rental level’s going to be. Obviously we’re trying to keep that as low as possible, but construction costs are going to dictate a large part of where we land on this project.”

All costs for the municipality are expected to be within the existing budgets, so council endorsed the concept and directed staff to draft a final agreement between SPMRM, Sun Peaks Housing Authority, Sun Peaks Resort LLP and A&T Project Development.

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