Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort looks to build 10-unit staff housing

The RDCK is recommending more public input and discussion take place before the project is approved or not.

Overhead view of pool at Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort.

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort. — Photo courtesy Selkirk International Loop

Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort, owned and operated by the Lower Kootenay Band, is requesting approval to build a new two-storey, ten-unit housing complex for staff accommodation on property near the Ainsworth Hot Springs. The Resort has also requested a reduction in parking requirements for the new housing project.

PROS

  • The proposal would lay the groundwork for Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort to provide staff housing options.
  • An increase in staff housing would help retain resort employees and directly contribute to economic growth of the surrounding area, and additional housing stock would free up more dwellings for rental in the community.

CONS

  • Surrounding neighbours have identified a parking shortage within Ainsworth. There is concern that reducing the parking requirements for staff accommodation may have negative effects elsewhere in the community.

The proponent states that any reduction to parking requirements are only being requested for staff accommodation units. It is the opinion of Resort staff that a small reduction to the requirements for staff accommodation will not have a noticeable affect to the overall parking needs of Ainsworth residents

Here is the executive summary of the reduced parking proposal to the RDCK: “The purpose of this report is for the Board to consider an amendment to the "Electoral Area 'D' Comprehensive Land Use Bylaw No. 2435, 2016" for properties zoned Ainsworth Resort Commercial (C3). The proposal would allow for reduction of minimum site area for permitted principal uses from 0.2ha to O.lha, reduced parking requirements, and a site specific reduction of the minimum exterior side setback on an undeveloped right of way from 4.5m to 0.0m (see attached site plan for location). This proposal would modify all C3 zoned lots in order to provide enhanced options for staff and tourist accommodations for properties zoned Ainsworth Resort Commercial (C3).”

Neighbouring business, the Mermaid Hotel, opposes the development with its owner being quoted in the Valley Voice newspaper as saying, “You are going to take my business away.” – citing concerns that the height of the proposed housing unit will block their guests' lake views.

The Ainsworth Resort Commercial Zone is owned entirely by the Lower Kootenay Band and the most prominent development within the zone is the Ainsworth Hot Springs Resort. The properties are all serviced by the resort owned community water and wastewater system.

The RDCK is recommending more public input and discussion take place before the project is approved or not.  

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