Local elected officials, including Cranbrook Mayor Lee Pratt, Jane Walter, Area E Director, RDEK and Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick attended the meeting. Photo submitted

CARP Kootenays discuss housing options for seniors

The Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP) Kootenay Chapter recently held their spring meeting at the Heritage Inn in Cranbrook.

The main theme of the meeting was Housing Options As We Age, and CARP Kootenays assembled quite a panel to speak to the issue, including elected officials from Cranbrook, Kimberley and the RDEK, as well as private sector representatives from New Dawn Developments, Golden Life Management ad Royal LePage East Kootenay Realty.

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

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

Mayor Lee Pratt of Cranbrook, stated 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.

Jane Walters from RDEK Area E 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 from 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 from 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.

Lori White, a local realtor, advised that there was a 17 per cent decrease in sales due to the lack of properties available.

Main topics for discussion ranged from what individuals need to do to be prepared, for example, 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 (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.

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