Rundle Church ponders housing project
Banff’s Rundle Memorial United Church is investigating building residential housing on site.
The church, located at the corner of Banff Avenue and Buffalo Street, has been meeting with various members of the community to look for partnerships and the Town of Banff is showing interest.
“We’re looking at all of our options for residential housing, including seniors who often are wrestling with nowhere to go,” said Anne Wilson, chair of the church’s board.
“There’s just a need that’s crying out to be filled because a lot of people have a hard time finding a place to live in. We’ve got this awesome location and we want to be of benefit to the community.”
Wilson said the church has made a bid through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for seed money to begin a process on what type of housing would best suit the community.
“It’s seed funding to see what kind of project would work for us and for the community,” she said. “We know there’s a lot of needs out there.”
The Banff Housing Corporation is currently doing a $54,250 housing needs assessment to get a better handle on what the tourist town’s housing issues are.
The study aims to determine what the housing needs of the Banff townsite are for the next 10 years, complete an affordability analysis and find out any gaps that may exist between housing supply and demand.
Leslie Taylor, a council representative on BHC’s board of directors, said she let the board know of the church’s plans following a meeting she attended about the possible redevelopment plans.
“It appeared to me, if they go ahead with this idea, that they may be looking for partners, and if they’re looking for partners, this might be a partnership the BHC might want to look at, depending on outcome of the housing study,” she said.
“With the best of intentions, the BHC often comes up against the issue of land and now here is a potential partner, with a very centrally located piece of land, and it just seems to me that we should see if there are any possibilities there.”
The Town of Banff is also investigating building housing for its seasonal and short-term staff.
Council has given administration its blessing to return with a report outlining a housing project, including the type and costs, during 2013 capital budget deliberations later this year.
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