UPDATE: Kamloops council on Tuesday, Feb. 26, approved the project's housing agreement and development permit.
Seniors will have access to subsidized housing, amenities and a resource and information centre in downtown Kamloops, should plans by the Centre for Seniors Information and BC Housing be realized at the corner of Victoria Street and Sixth Avenue.
CSI executive director Brenda Prevost told KTW the 112-unit, six-storey development is expected to open in the fall of 2020.
“We are already taking pre-applications that are just general information at this point and we’ve already got about 60 applications,” Prevost said. “There is definitely demand.”
More details about the seniors housing project are coming to light as the housing agreement and development permit go to city council for approval on Tuesday.
It will include 15 studio units, 76 one-bedroom units, 16 one-bedroom plus den units and five two-bedroom units, along with underground parking, a central courtyard, two rooftop terraces, amenity rooms, storage areas and laundry.
Prevost said the area was desirable for such a project due to the availability of nearby amenities — transit, shops, parks and public space — and flat and accessible nature of the area.
The properties located at 612, 630, 632 and 634 Victoria St., previously housed a movie theatre, which was vacant for many years, and other storefronts before it was recently bulldozed to pave way for the project.
Prevost said much consideration went into accessibility, in addition to how the building looks on the outside in a key downtown location. A staff report to council states the building will include brick veneer and cedar-looking panels, while glazing, balconies and canopies are expected to provide visual interest. The report adds the corner of the building at Sixth Avenue and Victoria Street will also be set back to create a sense of openness and space at the pedestrian level and a “distinctive architectural element at this prominent corner.”
“The walkways will be wider and they’ll also have the bulbed-out corner, where it’s going to be easier access for walkers, wheelchairs, that kind of thing, if we’ve got people that are living there with disabilities,” Prevost said. “A lot of consideration put into that. Easy access, ramping put into the centre where the offices, entrance would be located.”
CSI currently operates an activity centre in the Brock Shopping Centre and an information centre in Northills Shopping Centre, both of which will continue to operate with the additional downtown location.
Prevost said the organization is “thrilled” to offer seniors services downtown, including income tax, information on government programs and services, documents, forms and advocacy.
“Help with elder abuse will also be available at the downtown office,” she said.
Staff are recommending council authorize the housing agreement and issue a develop permit. The city is also planning for the area reduction to two lanes the 500- and 600-blocks of Victoria Street, beginning spring of 2020, to create a more walkable area similar to that of the 100- to 400-blocks of Victoria Street.
Other seniors housing just down the block downtown includes Desert Gardens Seniors Community Centre and Bedford Manor, which has 76 assisted-living units offered by John Howard Society, Interior Health Authority and BC Housing.