The Lower Columbia/West Kootenay Boundary region is a desired location for those who value nature and a rural lifestyle, but a local shortage of available and affordable housing is imposing limitations on those seeking residency within the region. This student-lead research project aggregates available statistics on trends related to the current and projected state of housing within the region. This research was completed with the financial support of the Teck Serv Student Research Internship fund, which provides an annual opportunity for a Selkirk College student to undertake a local applied research project in collaboration with a community organization sponsor. This year, the partner applicant for the annual student research fund was the Castlegar Chamber of Commerce with additional supporting partners: Community Futures and the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation. The research internship is generously supported by Teck Trail Operations and administered by the Applied Research and Innovation Centre at Selkirk College. The Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute (RDI) compiled this research in order to begin addressing concerns related to housing within the identified communities.
Housing Needs Reports serve as a means for communities to better understand their current and future housing needs, and identify existing and projected gaps in housing supply. This is done by collecting and analyzing quantitative and qualitative information regarding local demographics, economics, housing stock, income characteristics, core housing need, and other factors. This report is intended to partially satisfy the provincially mandated Housing Needs Report requirements for BC local governments, which took effect April 16th, 2019. Gaps in data are outlined at the end of the report and can be used as a guide for future housing needs research.
The study area is located in the Lower Columbia/West Kootenay Boundary Region. The original anticipated geographical scope for this project was to cover the municipalities of Nelson, Castlegar and Trail. Project partners decided to further expand the study region to include additional adjacent communities and electoral areas for a broader regional scope. The study area includes the municipalities of Nelson, Castlegar, Trail, Rossland, Fruitvale, Montrose, Warfield, as well as the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) Electoral Areas E, F, I, J and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) Electoral Areas A and B (See Study Area Map).
The state of housing in the region was examined based on the standardized Housing Needs Report template issued by the BC Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The template can be found in the BC government’s Summary of Legislative and Regulatory Requirements for Housing Needs Reports.
Data was collected using the template’s recommended “Sources of Data” for each dataset. However, since this study was focused on small, rural communities, local organizations were approached to obtain local data on specific indicators that were otherwise unavailable through larger databases. Utilized sources include: The Government of Canada, Statistics Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CHMC), The Province of British Columbia, BC Stats, BC Assessment, BC Housing, the Kootenay Real Estate Board, Selkirk College, the Columbia Basin Alliance for Literacy, the Trail Association for Community Living, Nelson CARES Society, the Nelson Committee on Homelessness and the Castlegar and District Community Services Society.
INDIVIDUAL COMMUNITY STATISTICS