Town lowers near-market commitment in effort to boost flagging interest

Hoping to kickstart stagnant near-market housing sales in the new Meadowlark Place subdivision, Council Monday reduced the length of time a purchaser would have to own the property before it could be sold at “market price.”

“The developer brought to Council’s attention that the initial program had a 20-year purchase commitment prior to being able to be sold at a market price,” explained CAO Barry Romanko.

“This 20-year commitment was a barrier to the sale of homes to eligible buyers because it was difficult for people to accept such a long-term commitment.”

Council approved a five-year commitment, which aligns with the mortgage program’s five-year term.

The Town’s Near-Market Housing (NMAH) Program was introduced in early 2017 and intended to deliver lower-cost housing in the community by providing a 15% subsidized pricing discount to qualified applicants, particularly younger families with children.

Participating developers are required to build and help subsidize a required share of these modestly-priced affordable homes in their residential projects as a condition of zoning approval, and will sell them to approved program recipients.

Four near-market homes were built in Meadowlark Place — located west of Hwy. 97 and adjacent to the Osoyoos Firehall — by Ellcar Construction, which is developing 27 units on 26 lots.

To date, none of the four near-market homes have sold.

Zoning change benefits proposed wibit park

Council OK’d a zoning change for the beach area north of Gyro Park to W4 – Commercial Moorage and added inflatable waterpark as a permitted use.

The change from W1 – Public Water Use is required to allow Okanagan Wibit to set up an inflatable water play area directly behind the Osoyoos Museum and Osoyoos Seniors Centre.

The park would include an inter-connected series of structures that could accommodate between 120 and 140 users. Okanagan Wibit hopes to open the facility this summer.

Before the park can be set up, however, Okanagan Wibit still has numerous provincial hoops to jump through and requires a leasing agreement with the Town.

 

Funds approved for Desert Centre development

The Osoyoos Desert Society is $40,000 closer to a new interpretive building following an announced Council decision Monday to include the new facility in the Town’s Resort Municipality Initiative (RMI) Strategy and provide the society with $40,000 in funding.

The decision was made in camera April 16 but not made public at that time because the society was exploring other funding opportunities.

“It would not have been appropriate for us to bring that up because that was not something we felt that we could do: bring those names forward,” explained Mayor Sue McKortoff.

“The Desert Centre is a big focus of what we do,” said Denise Eastlick, the society’s executive director, in a report to Council in April. “Over the last decade, we’ve typically drawn about 10,000 people a year; over a decade that means 100,000 visitors.

Construction of a new interpretive society was “a major priority” for the society, she said.

With the existing trailer structures quickly deteriorating, the society determined to purchase a 720-sq. ft. modular building this summer.

To accomplish that task, it needs to raise $100,000 by mid-June for October delivery.

At the April 16 meeting, Mayor Sue McKortoff, along with Coun. Jim King and Carol Youngberg approved the $40,000 expenditure. Coun. CJ Rhodes and Mike Campol were opposed.

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