The dormitory planned for the Salmon Arm campus of Okanagan College will be in the northeast corner (in yellow), the area where the parking roundabout at the entrance is now situated. (City of Salmon Arm image)

The dormitory planned for the Salmon Arm campus of Okanagan College will be in the northeast corner (in yellow), the area where the parking roundabout at the entrance is now situated. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Student housing at Okanagan College’s Salmon Arm campus moving forward

Construction of 60-bed dormitory expected to begin in 2022, zoning amendment required

Zoning in Salmon Arm is being amended to accommodate a dormitory building planned for the Okanagan College campus.

The 60-bed dormitory will be situated in the northeast corner of the campus property, the area where the roundabout at the entrance now sits.

Because the city’s list of uses in the P-3, institutional zone, does not include dormitory, the zoning bylaw must be amended.

A report from city staff said construction of the student housing building is expected to begin in the summer of 2022 and be completed in the winter of 2024.

Staff noted that about 20 parking spots would be lost, but with a requirement of one parking stall per five beds, it was not expected to be a problem. The college has a longstanding agreement with the city to allow the college to use 40 stalls on the adjacent recreation centre property.

Coun. Kevin Flynn, although supportive of the dormitory, expressed concern about the loss of parking spots. He said, from his experience, more than one in five students have vehicles.

Joan Ragsdale, regional dean of the college, said student housing will allow the college to attract international students who usually don’t have vehicles and tend to ride the bus.

Coun. Debbie Cannon asked if the accommodation would be seasonal and be provided for specific programs.

Ragsdale said some colleges in B.C. allow students to stay year-round because of the difficulty finding housing. She said the college has not reached any decisions but is considering options.

Councillors expressed their enthusiasm for the project, as did Mayor Alan Harrison.

“I think this is a real game changer for the college and city,” he said.

The zoning amendment must go through three readings and a public hearing before being adopted.

Read more: Student housing to be built on Okanagan College Salmon Arm campus

Read more: Healthcare program offers way for Okanagan College student to connect with ailing mother



martha.wickett@saobserver.net
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