The first stages of affordable housing in Salmo are finally taking shape.

The first stages of affordable housing in Salmo are finally taking shape.

Affordable housing project begins in Salmo

The Salmo and Area Affordable Housing project was first conceived 1987, and in July construction finally began.

It’s been a long time coming but Salmo will soon be home to an affordable housing complex.

The Salmo and Area Affordable Housing project was first conceived by a group of residents in 1987, and in July, contractor Scuka Enterprises were on the Rotter Avenue site ready to finally dig in.

Former Salmo Mayor, Phil Berukoff, has been at the helm of the affordable housing initiative since its inception 26 years ago.

“Through the years it felt like we were taking one step forward and two steps back,” said Berukoff.

“But through the many studies and surveys we have funded, one thing was clear. There is a need for a senior’s home in Salmo.”

The Salmo and Area Housing Society flipped a lot of burgers and auctioned countless cords of firewood over the years to raise money to purchase the property currently under development.

Now, the Society has teamed with BC Housing, BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) to assist funding the $4.5 million project.

As the ground was being readied for construction, one taxing matter remained for Berukoff. Late July, he addressed Salmo council in a bid to request a 10-year tax exemption bylaw from the village.

He first approached the village in 2012 to request a yearly resolution from council  for a tax exemption, that could near half a million dollars by 2023.

“BC Housing is financing part of our project and would like to have something definite,” explained Berukoff to council. “They’ve requested a bylaw so if council changes in a few years, it cannot come back and say ‘no’ to an exemption. BC Housing is already worried we can’t pay the taxes after the 10 years.”

Once the project is complete, taxes owed to the village would be $35,000 for the first year, and estimated to be $42,000 by year ten.

The life cycle of the complex is expected to be 50 years, explained Berukoff, adding, over a 40-year span that would mean $1.6 million in revenue to the village.

“The village would stand to lose around $400,000 in taxes in the next decade,” he said. “But I think it’s a good investment because it was raw land before we started and will bring a good return in the future.”

Council conceded and gave the bylaw three readings. Next the bylaw must be presented to the public at a Committee of the Whole meeting this fall before final adoption.

Historically, taking care of Salmo seniors who required extra help, meant relocation to a facility in Trail, Castlegar, Nelson and beyond.

“It’s about keeping our seniors in our own town,” said Berukoff.

“There has been a drive to make it happen and everyone in the community deserves credit.”

Since 2005, the 1.6 acre property, located behind the Kootenay Savings Credit Union,was earmarked for  the village’s need for senior housing.

However, in 2010, the Society, CBT and BCNPHA, in conjunction with the village, determined an overall need for affordable housing in the Salmo community and surrounding area, after a 2006 census revealed average household incomes were the lowest in the Basin.

One-third of the area’s population spends 30 per cent or more of its income on housing compared to 21 per cent in other Basin communities, according to a BC Housing summary report based on the census.

In addition to 20 units for seniors, design plans were updated to include two (four unit) townhouses for individuals who live in inadequate housing or cannot afford the housing they require.

“We are committed to a building that we can be proud of,” said Berukoff. “The units are not low cost, but they will be affordable.”

Just Posted

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters begin 24-hour blockade of Castlegar’s main street

Members of Extinction Rebellion plan to stay overnight

Forty sled dogs were seized by the BC SPCA from a Salmo kennel in February. A recent ruling has decided the dogs won’t be returned. Photo: Gounsil/Flickr
BC Farm Industry Review Board rules against Salmo kennel after 40 sled dogs seized

Spirit of the North Kennels was also ordered to pay BC SPCA $64,000

Residents line up outside the Vernon Recreation Complex for their COVID-19 vaccine Saturday, June 5. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
No appointments necessary for first dose COVID-19 vaccine: Interior Health

People can just show up at clinics, register on the spot and get the shot

SD20 now has an electric bus. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay-Columbia School District 20 adds electric bus to fleet

Bus will be incorporated into Castlegar route for next school year

Painting by Dave Davies from Shaver’s Bench facing Teck Trail.
Happy 120th Birthday to the City of Trail!

The town of Trail Creek- or Trail Creek Landing - was incorporated as a city on June 14, 1901.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read