In his previous life as a physician, Vernon Mayor Rob Sawatzky said he had to follow what evidence showed him about a person’s well-being.
That evidence, he said, showed that housing, home care, enough money and good food are far more effective in terms of health and well-being than any prescription or counselling he good give in his office.
That’s why Sawatzky is a big supporter of the latest affordable and attainable housing project announced in Vernon.
Vernon Veridian, located at 3705-24th Avenue, will soon provide affordable homes for families, singles and people with disabilities in the community.
“This project really fits as an important working effective tool in our ability to deal with our citizens as a body,” said Sawatzky at the press conference announcing the near completion of the project Wednesday at the site.
The B.C. government has invested $2.85 million for the purchase of the land and capital costs for the building, while the Kindale Developmental Association will manage and operate Vernon Veridian.
“Developments like this contribute to a healthy, vibrant neighbourhood,” said Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster.
“Each year, more than 1,500 households benefit from provincially funded housing programs in our community.
“This building will add another option, giving more people in Vernon a safe, affordable place to live and raise their families.”
Darren Evans of Constructive Concepts Ltd., who have been building Vernon Veridian since breaking ground last November, said there will be 12, two-bedroom units available.
The units contain a garage, one bedroom on the main floor and one bedroom upstairs.
However, his company has a zoning application before council to turn eight of the units into bachelor suites – perfect for college students – which could serve as mortgage helpers to anyone who buys a unit.
Annette Sharkey, executive director of the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan, said affordable housing remains a top priority, just like it did when she started her job in 2006.
“Kudos to Darren Evans, for getting private developers interested in affordable housing was really key,” said Sharkey.
“He did a lot of work and this was his vision.
“Housing doesn’t happen overnight but we’re definitely making progress.”
The units are close to being completed and Kindale will handle the applications.
“Vernon Veridian will be a welcome complement to our four residential homes and established success with the Under One Roof project in Vernon,” said B Elliott, Kindale’s executive director.