Mayor James Baker points out a panel to Sharon McCoubrey during an open house Thursday night for a new affordable housing project in Lake Country. - Carli Berry/Capital News

Lake Country Museum members hopeful for affordable housing project

An open house was held Thursday night for a new affordable housing project

Lake Country Museum members are hoping an affordable housing project will also contain civic space that can be used for the museum.

In September, the District of Lake Country and EllisDon created a non-binding agreement to work towards an affordable housing project that would see up to 200 affordable housing units on Jensen and Hill Roads.

The Society of Hope, which has numerous other affordable housing complexes around the Central Okanagan, has also partnered with the district and EllisDon to develop and manage the units.

As part of the conceptual design, a civic space was proposed for the first floor of the Hill Road development, which would contain 77 units for seniors and singles, according to the rough design presented during an open house for the project Thursday night at Cedar Court.

The area on Jensen Road has a design for 24 family town homes, 85 apartment units for seniors and land dedicated for the district’s use.

“It’s all conceptual, but they’re looking at turning over one floor… for public use… things that would bring all the members of the community in,” said archivist Laura Neame.

Curator Dan Bruce said the museum has been building a collection and needs a place to exhibit and store it.

“With proper humidity,” Neame added.

“Our museum at the moment has a problem because it’s perceived as being the Okanagan Centre museum. It’s the Lake Country museum,” he said. “It’s a beautiful location, but it’s not central.”

Neame said they currently rent space at Okanagan Centre Hall to store materials.

District council agreed to give first, second and third reading to waiving Development Cost Charges for the project and also agreed to give first and second reading to a zoning amendment that would rezone the Jensen Road property from rural residential to medium density housing in October.

READ MORE: Steps to waive $2.4 million DCC’s made for Lake Country affordable housing project

Warren Postnikoff, property portfolio manager with the Society of Hope, said this will be the biggest project the nonprofit is tackling.

“Everybody’s eager to make it happen. Our biggest concern is that it’s such an expensive market to build in right now,” he said. “It’s driving the prices up.”

The properties will contain a mix of affordable housing, with those for higher incomes, a mid range and low income housing which would be for those in the 30 per cent of their income range, he said.

If approved, the Hill Road property would be located at the Kangaroo Creek Farm’s location. The farm plans to move out of Lake Country in 2020 to Old Vernon Road near Kelowna’s airport.

READ MORE: Kangaroo Creek Farm looking to move

The project is contingent on funding from BC Housing. Executive director Luke Stack of the Society of Hope said the nonprofit won’t hear back from the Crown corporation until January 2019. The tentative completion date for the project is in 2021.

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