Cache Creek residents can have their say about their vision for Cache Creek’s downtown core and the need for seniors’ housing in two surveys available on the Village’s website. Photo: Wendy Coomber.

Cache Creek looks at seniors’ housing, business expansion

The Village is moving forward with two major studies, and is looking for community feedback.

The Village of Cache Creek has received grants that will enable it to move forward on two projects, one of which dates back to 2013.

The Village has received $15,000 from the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) to further explore one item—seniors’ housing—identified during an initial Age-Friendly Plan study (also funded by UBCM) that was carried out in late 2017/early 2018. The Village has also received $10,000 in funding from the Rural Dividend Program to advance the Business Attraction and Expansion Strategy that was first discussed in 2013.

Maren Luciani, the principal/senior planner for Meraki Community Planning (formerly Luciani Urban Planning and Design), which has been involved with the Age-Friendly plan since last year, is excited about the move forward.

“A seniors’ housing needs assessment was one of the priorities identified by community members,” she says of the first phase of the Age-Friendly study. “Now we’re reaching out to the 55+ community and asking them to complete a short survey regarding their housing needs and preferences in Cache Creek.”

Luciani says that the intention of the survey is to “Gather data so that [the Village] can obtain funding for a feasibility study regarding a seniors’ housing development in town. We have some information that was gathered through the initial Age-Friendly Plan study, but it was very general. People told us there was a need for seniors’ housing; now we have to back that up with concrete data.”

Luciani says that the second phase will include looking at existing housing, identifying gaps, reviewing statistics, and looking for on-the-ground investment.

“Affordability was a key point that came up, as well as housing that will allow people to age in place. A lot of older housing stock is not adaptable. There’s a need for housing that’s more conducive to an aging population. This is a starting point that will lead to more in-depth studies so we can understand the need and the options.”

In addition to the housing survey—which is available on the Village of Cache Creek’s website, and in hard copy format at the Village office, as well as the Better At Home and South Cariboo Elizabeth Fry Society offices in Ashcroft—Luciani says that a focus group will be formed, and there will be meetings with seniors and those who provide services to seniors. The survey is open until July 30, and the process will be finished by the end of the year, when a report will be presented to council.

Cache Creek mayor John Ranta says that the seniors’ housing survey and consultation process is the initial phase of the study. “You can’t get seniors’ housing overnight, and it hasn’t appeared that the Province is ready to invest in seniors’ housing in Cache Creek.” He adds that such housing is needed: “Seniors here don’t want to move to Ashcroft. They want to age in place, and have a seniors’ facility in Cache Creek.”

The Village’s Business Expansion and Attraction Strategy is intended to help develop the community, says Luciani. “It’s a long-term vision for the downtown. The intention is to work with stakeholders—community members, the business community—to develop a vision for the future and how to move forward.

“Community involvement is a particular component of this project. We need to scope out what people identify as the downtown. The Village’s Official Community Plan has a very definite scope for the Village core, but we need to know if the public sees something else, and what the community wants the Village to look like and how we get there. The survey is a starting point, and will help guide the Village forward.”

Ranta says that the study will look at, and flesh out, how to attract businesses and employers to the community. “Because of Cache Creek’s strategic highway location there are opportunities to attract businesses such as trucking and warehousing.”

The business survey is also available on the Village’s website, and Luciani says she will be at the Cache Creek market on July 21 to speak with residents, answer questions, and hand out the surveys. She adds that the Village’s website will be regularly updated with information about both projects, and that anyone who completes either survey will be entered into a prize draw to win a gift certificate for a local business.

For links to both surveys, go to http://www.village.cachecreek.bc.ca/. For information/updates on the Seniors’ Housing project, go to http://bit.ly/2KJY92t, and for information/updates on the Downtown Visioning Project go to http://bit.ly/2L5ZOf9.

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