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Columbia Valley Chamber to address local housing challenges

Members of the Columba Valley Chamber of Commerce are doing their part in addressing housing needs in the area using a number of strategies.

According to staff with the chamber, they have been working on finding ways to alleviate pressure on housing in the valley.

“I think our role is ultimately to just get everybody together to be able to get this issue moved forward,” said Pete Bourke, Columbia Valley Chamber of Commerce executive director. “We’ve been doing sort of the heavy lifting behind the scenes on research and looking into different models and understanding what’s working in other communities.”

Bourke said issues in the Columbia Valley are not necessarily unique.

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“There’s either not enough housing inventory or not enough affordable housing inventory to house the workforce that is needed in this region. We’re trying to find ways to relieve that pressure,” said Bourke. “Cost to build of costs to renovate properties are a massive barrier.”

Bourke noted that there are several opportunities that the Chamber has looked at as well.

“There are a lot of different examples that are in place in communities like Whistler and Canmore that have already been at this for quite some time,” said Bourke. “We’re pretty optimistic with lessons learned from other areas and applying those to what we need to do here, and then finding the right programs, we’ll be able to find some solutions.”

One such plan that Bourke noted, was the establishment of the Columbia Valley Housing Society (CVHS).

“We are very fortunate that we have a great developer in the Valley called Generation Homes that has already built a successful project for another need in the Valley that we’re kind of modelling this one off in terms of the style and design. It’s great that we have a project that is quite far along in terms of being the first project for the society,” said Bourke.

The CVHS will work with local Indigenous groups and municipalities to ensure the organizations can move forward with development together.

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