122-unit subsidized rental building announced

122 more affordable homes

The provincial government has announced 122 new affordable rental units in Kelowna.

The project at 2175 Benvoulin Road will house seniors and single parents with children, in partnership with the National Society of Hope.

The project is being funded by the BC Community Housing Fund, which supports mixed buildings that see 50 per cent of units set aside for incomes up to $64,000 and 30 per cent earmarked for those making up to $74,000 per year. The remainder of units go to households with very low incomes, such as those on disability.

Rental fees for the building have not been released yet.

“The Community Housing Fund is about just that – community. Through this program, we are working with our partners to build thousands of new homes that are affordable for a mix of people, from growing families to seniors on fixed incomes,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

The rental units in Kelowna are among 540 announced in B.C. on Sunday, with others in the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Northern B.C.

READY FOR WINTER TOURISM

“More to explore” is a 10-part collaboration between Castanet and Travel Penticton, a follow up to the popular “Tourists in your own town” series. Watch for it every Monday morning.

With winter fast approaching, tourism operators in the Penticton area are feeling chill as they prepare to open for the season.

“We’re going to be almost business as usual,” said James Shalman, the Apex Mountain Resort’s general manager.

“We’re really ready for an early season.”

Operating hours on the mountain will remain the same, said Shalman, but guests will see some small changes in the village and at the chairlift as the resort practices social-distancing guidelines.

“We are recommending face coverings in the village,” he explained. “Riding the lifts and disembarking from the lifts, face coverings will be mandatory because that’s a congested area.”

Social distancing measures will be in place, he added, with singles able to ride on each end of a four-seater chair, and lifts will ride at full capacity with groups only within their bubbles.

Guests will not need to reserve a ticket in advance, however the resort will be booking ahead for rentals and lessons.

The hockey rink and skating loops will be open and night skiing will be available.

This year, added Shalman, guests who purchase a season’s pass – available online at apexresort.com until Oct. 4 – will receive 12 free passes for six other B.C. resorts. Season pass holders from last year, added Shalman, will receive 10 per cent off this year’s pass to compensate for the mountain’s early closure due to COVID-19.

For Tricia Wilson, the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre’s general manager, preparing for this season did pose its challenges, but she and the team are ready to welcome guests.

“We’re going to have all of our trails open,” she said. “We even have a new trail coming up this winter. It’s fantastic.”

The centre has reduced its capacity to 50 guests at a time, which, said Wilson, “was our biggest hurdle to get over.”

“You can’t store your (belongings) in the lodge anymore, which changes how people use the facility quite a bit,” she said.

With the kitchen shut down and tables taken away, Wilson said the centre still plans on having a microwave and kettle for guests and spots to sit and rest.

But adapting to COVID-19 guidelines has allowed the not-for-profit centre to move forward in a way Wilson says is “huge:” the centre has moved to online sales, with thanks from company Scarlet Creations.

“It’ll be great for people to (purchase tickets) before they get there,” said Wilson, adding the centre offers free Wi-Fi for those who forget to do so.

Memberships are now on sale at a discounted rate until Oct. 31. Private lessons are still being booked through email, and thanks to a $1,500 grant from Kal-Tire, the centre has been able to add an additional coach.

And for those who prefer to cozy up next to a fire in a private cabin or yurt, Chute Lake Lodge is ready to welcome guests.

“We’re really excited,” said projects manager Stephanie Chambers.

The lodge has ramped up its amenities this year, offering guided bike tours in the Fall (at 20% off in October!) and hockey tournaments, sleigh rides and snowshoe rentals in the winter. With a hockey rink being built for this upcoming season, Chambers added guests are welcome to bring their own skates to enjoy it.

“We want to do family-friendly (activities),” said Wilson.

Social-distancing measures will be in place, with the lodge encouraging guests to spend their time outdoors enjoying one of the many activities offered.

“We really see ourselves as a nice compliment to the ski hills that are all around us, that can provide an interesting alternative,” she said.

For more information and to snag your private yurt for a mid-week night for only $100 a night, click here.

GET RID OF THAT OLD SOFA

North Westside Road residents can dispose of unwanted bulky household items in October

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has announced North Westside Road residents in the Central Okanagan will soon have an opportunity to dispose of their unwanted bulky items.

Between Oct. 7 and Oct. 14, during regular operating hours at the North Westside Road Transfer Station, residents can get rid of their large household items for a cost of $20 per truckload.

This opportunity is available to those with valid identification for items including appliances, scrap metal, lawn mowers, motorized parts, household, and outdoor furniture.

Hazardous waste such as computers and electronics will not be accepted. Unwanted fridges and freezers will be accepted at $15 per item.

Cash or cheques are the only accepted forms of payment.

The North Westside Road Transfer Station is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. It is located at the Sugarloaf Mountain/Whiteman Creek Forest Service Road.

Contact the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250-469-6250 or email recycle@cord.bc.ca

Construction of new roundabout to close intersection in Westbank

Roundabout being installed

A busy intersection on the Westbank First Nation is being closed until the end of November so much-needed improvements can take place.

A roundabout is being installed at the Carrington and Butt Road intersection, in addition to the implementation of sidewalk and bike lanes, improved street lighting, and utility upgrades.

The closure will begin on September 18 and run until the end of November. During that time, the intersection will be closed except to local traffic. Motorists should expect delays, including single lane alternating traffic, at times.

Development along the Carrington corridor such as the Carrington Ridge Apartments or the under-construction Marriott hotel, has increased traffic on the roadway considerably in recent years.

Townhouse For Sale in Penticton Main North

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Own green space with private entrance and fully fenced yard.

•  1400 sqft , 3 bath , 3 bdrm townhouse – FOR SALE  CAD399,900 . Quality & value in this beautiful 4 plex MLS® 185942

Contingent on Seller’s finding a place – Quality & value are apparent in this beautiful 4 plex at 477 Duncan Ave West. Unit #2 has 3 good sized bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and open floor plan. 3 levels, bedrooms located on the top floor, kitchen and living room on the main, and bathroom finished in the basement with room for office or rec room. Each unit has their own green space with private entrance and fully fenced yard. Open breezway between the units. Features include Central air built in vac, high efficiency furnace & quality kitchen with over range hood fan & microwave. 2 Pets allowed under 601bs, rentals allowed, no age restrictions

Click here for: Property information

Apartment For Sale in Main South, Penticton

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The large living room has sliding door to a massive North facing deck.

•  1237 sqft , 2 bath , 2 bdrm apartment – FOR SALE  CAD325,000 . Located just a short walk to Cherry Lane mall.  MLS® 185911

Immaculate two bedroom, two bath condo in Brookfield Place. Located just a short walk to Cherry Lane mall and across the street from a park, this home is central to amenities in Penticton. Recently updated with flooring, baseboards, stainless appliances, washer and dry and newer paint throughout. This spacious home features a bright kitchen with eating bar open to the dining area. The large living room has sliding door to a massive North facing deck. Master bedroom offers plenty of space plus a 2 piece ensuite. There is one secured parking and a large storage locker located beside. 55+, no pets and no rentals.

Click here for: Property information

LEON PROJECT DEALT A BLOW

The North Vancouver man hoping to completely revamp the 200 block of Leon Avenue was dealt a serious setback Monday afternoon.

Anthony Beyrouti, owner of the Vancouver-based ticket reseller VenueKings.com was before city council Monday afternoon asking for a site-specific text amendment to allow short-term rentals on one of three towers proposed for the block.

Council voted 8-1 against the application, with only Coun. Ryan Donn voting in favour.

The tower in question is at 1660 Water Street, at the intersection with Leon.

When the project was first unveiled in January, Beyrouti indicated the tower at the corner would be a hotel, adding he had hoped to have short-term rentals available in all three buildings.

“Hotels come with several challenges. One, financing is much more strict with hotels, and two parking requirements are much different for hotels,” said Beyrouti.

“This is a unique atmosphere, and a unique location and a unique city. I think people would like an opportunity to not feel like their are in a hotel, but in somebody’s apartment or in their own home atmosphere. We feel this is a phenomenal opportunity to enhance the area.”

He also said it was clear planners were not going to go along with the original concept, prompting the change.

Beyrouti also indicated the building would have a front desk and concierge service, prompting questions this was, indeed a hotel.

“More like a staycation type deal would be my preferred terminology, but I can see how the comparisons could be made.”

If allowed, planner Adam Cseke said a rental building would also be taxed at a lower rate by the city than a commercial hotel.

Beyrouti told council on numerous occasions he believes the development of this portion of Leon Avenue is in the best interests of the city and, without the text amendment allowing for the short-term rental concept, he would have to re-look at the math.

“Right now, this project is being treated the same as a waterfront project, but in a different location. We are not getting outside positive thoughts toward the fact this is literally the worst area in the entire downtown core, and has been a consistent trouble location for people in downtown. I would imagine for council I would imagine for the mayor,” he said.

“This allows us to have better financial opportunities to keep the property affordable but also allow for the property to happen.

“I know exactly what it would take for them to say yes to getting the property approved, the problem I’m not sure if the math works for that to happen.”

While the redevelopment has not yet come before council for a development permit or development variance permit, Beyrouti indicates it would include 732 suites in the three towers he indicated would include two of 19 floors and one of 26 floors.

Those numbers, as Mayor Basran cautioned, are only estimates at this time.

8 Things Careful Home Buyers Always Pay Attention To

The BC Energy Step Code and What It Means for REALTORS®

In the coming years, new homes in BC are about to get measurably healthier, quieter, more durable, and more energy efficient than those on the resale market, thanks to a regulation called the BC Energy Step Code. BCREA is collaborating with BC Hydro to ensure REALTORS® understand the BC Energy Step Code, so they can better advise their clients and meet the growing demand for “high-performance homes.”

What is the BC Energy Step Code?

In short, the BC Energy Step Code sets performance requirements for new construction and groups them into “steps.” Authorities with jurisdiction over the BC Building Code – including local governments – can choose to require or incentivize builders to meet the performance requirements of one or more steps.

The province has set a goal that by 2032, the BC Building Code will set Step 5 as the base requirement for all new houses. This means new homes will be up to 80 per cent more energy efficient than those built today. The province has also set interim targets and aims to set a base requirement of Step 3 by 2022.

What does this mean for Realtors?

As new homes become healthier, quieter, more durable, and more energy efficient over the coming years, Realtors can help homebuyers make informed decisions by educating them on these benefits. New homebuyers are also showing unprecedented interest in energy-efficient homes and will expect Realtors to be knowledgeable on the subject. In a recent Canadian Home Builders Association national survey, nine out of 10 respondents said they either “really want” or “must have” an energy-efficient home.

As leaders in their communities, Realtors can also act as agents of change by further educating consumers on the benefits of energy-efficient homes. In doing so, Realtors can ensure demand continues to grow for homes that are better for their clients, their communities, and the environment.

How is BCREA here to help?

BCREA is collaborating with BC Hydro to ensure Realtors have the knowledge and resources they need to understand the BC Energy Step Code and to market high-performance homes. Over the coming months, we will produce a podcast episode on the topic, additional blog posts, and host an all-Realtor webinar. In 2021, BCREA will also launch an accredited Professional Development Program course on energy-efficient homes.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Open House by BCREA, featuring Zachary May, Chair of the BC Energy Step Code Council, who will speak to the BC Energy Step Code and how it’s implementation will affect real estate practice.

“The Unusual World of Pandemic Economics” – Why BC’s Housing Market Remains Strong Despite COVID-19

Vancouver, BC – September 9, 2020. The British Columbia Real Estate Association’s (BCREA) latest Market Intelligence report, The Unusual World of Pandemic Economics, points to uneven job losses across sectors, an increase in many households’ rate of savings, swift government aid, a tighter-than-ever housing supply and low interest rates as the drivers behind BC’s recent housing market highs.

“The COVID-19 recession has battered many sectors of the BC economy. However, looking at recent data in the housing market, it would be difficult to tell there was a recession at all,” says BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “In a typical recession, we would see falling demand and rising supply, but this recession is anything but typical.”

Previous BCREA forecasts anticipated housing prices would return to the pre-COVID-19 baseline in early 2021. However, a surge of pent-up demand into an undersupplied market has prices at pre-COVID-19 levels well ahead of schedule.

“Pandemic economics are proving to be very unusual. Many of the trends we are seeing are without precedent and significant uncertainty remains, but we are cautiously optimistic that this housing recovery will continue,” notes Ogmundson.