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Posted: June 4, 2019

Housing options as we age: progress and preferences

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) Kootenay Chapter 23 recently held its spring general meeting at Cranbrook’s Heritage Inn.

Following a brief update on CARP, what it is, does and means to seniors in our region, a special panel presentation on Housing Options as We Age was held.

Elected officials from Kimberley, Cranbrook and the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) were joined by private sector representatives from New Dawn Developments, Golden Life Management and Royal LePage East Kootenay Realty to discuss real estate trends, new developments (current and planned), urban versus rural living, independent versus supported living and wants versus needs as our population ages.

Each panel member gave a brief update on the status of housing options in their respective areas.

City of Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick stated that a growing segment of the population in Kimberley wishes to rent rather than own and presently there is a lack of rental options.

City of Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt said that housing is high on the municipal agenda. Simplifying the development process and rezoning for secondary suites and multiple housing (medium density, ie duplexes, carriage suites) has occurred to help address the housing shortage.

RDEK Electoral Area E Director Jane Walters advised that there have been preliminary discussions regarding building seniors housing in the Wasa area. A housing survey was just completed in the Tri-Village area. Summary results are available on www.wasalake.com/senior.

Chad Jensen of New Dawn Developments provided an update on developments in progress. Participants were interested to hear about technological innovations that are being included in new builds.

Landon Elliott of Golden Life Management discussed options in the areas served by Golden Life and gave an update on Kootenay Street Village now under construction in Cranbrook.

Realtor Lori White advised that there was a 17% decrease in sales due to the lack of properties available. “Know the numbers” before making big decisions: fully explore the realities of owning vs selling vs renting, she said.

Main topics for discussion ranged from what individuals need to do to be prepared – ie begin the planning process early, consider your needs (social, medical, location, transportation, cost of living); to what developers and municipalities need to do to address the housing option shortage – ie. low cost housing, increased rental units, zoning bylaw changes, more timely developments, identifying partnership opportunities.

Panel discussions lead to breakout groups where attendees could gain more information and ask questions of the panel members regarding their areas of expertise.

The discussion was moderated by Kerri Wall, Public Health Facilitator for Interior Health, who is involved with discussions pertaining to public health around the Interior Health Region. Keri kept the conversation flowing with interesting questions about things like innovative ideas, new small house and land bank options being utilized in other areas, and what the “naysayers” are saying.

Kootenay CARP’s next event will be its Forever Young Seniors Expo on September 28 in Cranbrook.

Photos submitted


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