Construction is making good progress on the Oso project downtown, with businesses set to start occupying the first floor retail space next month. Oso is a brand new residential and commercial development in downtown Golden, BC. (Claire Palmer photo)

Affordable residential units to be built downtown Golden

This project will be between the town of Golden and Golden CED

Plans to provide more affordable housing units in Golden took a big step forward in December.

Town of Golden Council gave unanimous approval to entering a memorandum of understanding with the non-profit Community Economic Development (Golden CED) in which the town intends to transfer property to the society on the condition that it develop and maintain affordable housing.

“This is a great opportunity for the town,” says Mayor Ron Oszust. “This is the first time we have had a group that wants to develop, own and operate affordable housing and that is massive in that we’ve never had that capacity other than small isolated community groups.”

Oszust says the proposed four-story building at 525 and 527 9 Ave North (next to DJ’s Paper Place) will consist of commercial units on the ground floor, with residential units on the floors above. Golden CED anticipates a design incorporating a mix of unit sizes with 30 rental apartments in total.

The property was purchased by the town in the summer of 2021 for $425,000. It is being offered to Golden CED at a reduced purchase price of $280,000, demonstrating the town’s commitment to supporting the development of affordable housing.

Community owned and operated, the visually appealing building in the historic downtown core is expected to provide housing for approximately 40 to 50 residents.

While the town’s contribution is critical to realizing the project, Golden CED will need to obtain provincial and federal funding as well as funding from other sources.

“I am thrilled that the new council was ready to jump on this opportunity to make affordable housing a reality for low- and moderate-income residents of Golden,” said Jill Dewtie, Golden CED’s executive director, pointing out the location is fantastic for people seeking walkability to shops and services and accessibility for anyone with mobility challenges. “We’re creating a building that will offer new rental spaces for businesses in our downtown core and stable homes for residents that they can afford. This project truly exemplifies community economic development in action.”

CED partnered with the Town of Golden to hire CitySpaces Consulting to deliver a Housing Needs Report and Affordable Housing Strategy in 2021.

Some of the key findings in the strategy included the need for up to 307 more units in Golden and 255 new housing units in Area A by 2028.

Those experiencing the greatest challenges in finding affordable housing are seasonal and low-income workers, low- to moderate-income young adults and families, single-parents and people experiencing mental health issues.

Oszust says the memorandum of understanding follows up on the housing strategy and points out the CED is a separate entity.

“We will work with them and support them with funding,” he says, noting the building is not a holiday residence, it’s for those who live and work in Golden. “The key part of this is having the entity that is willing to do it all. This is super cool and will pay dividends going forward into the future.”

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