2016 BVRH September Bulletin

Housing Needs Study

Work continues on a Bow Valley Housing Needs Study, which will give us the information we need to make sound decisions about how we can best meet the needs of the region, as well as support when seeking government assistance with meeting those needs.


2016 Core Need Income Thresholds (CNIT)

The thresholds for Canmore, which control aspects of eligibility and revenue for social and affordable housing programs, do not adequately reflect the actual rental market. CAO is working with Canmore Community Housing Corp (CCHC) to advocate for review and revision.


Project occupancy rates

Bow River Lodge                  90% occupancy

Cascade House                      95% occupancy

Bow River Homes                  96% occupancy

Mount Edith House              97% occupancy

Community Housing             98% occupancy

Rent Supplement                   100% subscription 


Temporary Flood relief housing

BVRH continues to assist the Government of Alberta with their efforts to house local victims of the southern flooding. This program is winding down; just two tenants remain in place.


Bow River Lodge Redevelopment “This is Home


Phase 1: Siding is complete, while stone work is nearly complete. Interior work continues, including painting and flooring. The schedule indicates commissioning in January 2017, with full operations commencing in early 2017. Current progress stands at approximately 78%. Change Order costs, both approved, declined and under review, currently equate to approximately 2.3% of construction budget.

CAO and senior management team are working on the relocation plan, new operating models, emergency preparedness planning, change management for the staff and, a Request for Proposals for furnishings.

Phase 2: Substantial planning has begun now that we have initial agreements with the provincial government and agencies and a Project Manager assigned by Alberta Seniors and Housing. Construction on this phase cannot start until Phase 1 is complete and fully operational. At this point in time we anticipate completion of Phase 2 in late 2018.



Phase 1: The design includes 63 new residential lodge units, replacing 43 aging units and giving us 20 more, maximizing the available space in anticipation of the looming needs of our aging population in the region. This design means that all of our seniors will be housed in safe, new and fully functional spaces instead of some that are retro-fitted, ensuring more effective and efficient accommodation along with much improved ability to increase care services in the future.   Aside from the better facility afforded by this design it is important to also highlight the creation of a valuable and substantial piece of property to be used to meet regional needs in the future. The area currently taken up by the old parts of the original lodge will be used to bring higher levels of supportive living to the region for true aging in place in Phase 2.

Phase 2: This facility will be purposely designed to meet the needs of designated supportive living level 4 and dementia operations, including enhanced safety and care-provision considerations. Alberta Health Services (AHS) has provided design guidelines that the facility must consider so as to secure a Designated Supportive Living (DSL) agreement, which is the goal to meet the current and future needs of the people of the region. Next steps include: Project Coordination, and negotiation of an Agreement with AHS. A Request for Proposals for architectural services is being developed for release later this Summer.



Phase 1: Alberta Seniors’ Housing representatives remain supportive of the 80/20 sharing model, whereby the Province will pay 100% of the project costs and BVRH will pay our 20% over time. The current total project cost estimate is $14.2 million.

Phase 2: The current capital cost estimate is $18.5 million. We have received a commitment of a $6 million Affordable Supportive Living Initiative (ASLI) grant from the Government of Alberta.  We have also received word that Alberta Housing would like to fund this project under the model being used to fund Phase 1. We plan to fund our share through a combination of fundraising and financing.

It is expected that this development will improve our operating model to the point that we are able to achieve economies of scale and eliminate the need to requisition for operating costs at Bow River Lodge in the future. However, we may have to take on financing related to the provision of staff accommodation.



Phase 1: Our communications strategy continues.

Phase 2: Planning for the communications plan for phase 2 is being incorporated into our overall communications strategy.



About Bow Valley Regional Housing

Bow Valley Regional Housing (BVRH) is a Housing Management Body (HMB) for the Government of Alberta. The Provincial Government created HMBs to serve as operators and administrators of provincially-owned social housing facilities. The Province owns a large portfolio of these facilities through the Alberta Social Housing Corporation (ASHC), serving many needy and vulnerable Albertans. Each HMB is self-governing under the Alberta Housing Act, managing the ASHC assets in a particular region. Each region is comprised of multiple municipalities, improvement districts, etc. HMBs may operate other kinds of housing and may own buildings that house accommodation programs.

Every municipality in Alberta is a contributing member of their regional HMB. They are required to have at least one appointee on the governing board, which is responsible for acting in the best interests of the HMB. The board must consider the needs of each contributing municipality in its governance of the HMB.

HMB operations are funded through various means. Tenants pay rent and/or lodge fees, however since these are set at affordable rates the revenues cannot cover the costs of operations. Seniors Lodge deficits are funded through municipal ratepayer requisitions and provincial grants. Social Housing deficits (including independent seniors housing and community housing) are funded by Alberta Seniors and Housing.

As the HMB for the Bow Valley region we are responsible for social housing, as well as affordable supportive living accommodation for seniors throughout Kananaskis Country, the Bow Corridor, the MD of Bighorn and all of Banff National Park, an area covering about 13,500 square kilometres. This region has two towns and seven hamlets containing about 25,000 people. Our five contributing municipalities are: Kananaskis ID, MD of Bighorn, Town of Canmore, Town of Banff and Banff National Park ID9. The people of the region are able to access all of the programs we offer, subject to eligibility requirements.


The BVRH Mission Statement

Bow Valley Regional Housing commits to provide accommodation services for the Bow Valley region seniors and residents of modest means who struggle to secure and maintain appropriate housing. 

We manage:

  • seniors’ lodges in Canmore and Banff that currently house up to 85 residents
  • an expansion project underway at our lodge in Canmore will increase capacity and greatly improve the standard of living for the residents of the lodge
  • a second phase of the expansion project that will introduce designated supportive living to the region by way of approximately 60 beds that will provide appropriate accommodations to our vulnerable seniors while alleviating pressures in local hospitals
  • seniors’ independent housing buildings in Canmore and Banff that include 62 one-bedroom apartments
  • 58 family housing residences in Canmore
  • Interim relief housing for two households displaced by the June 2013 flooding
  • the Rent Supplement Program in the region that currently provides financial assistance to approximately 40 Bow Valley households

We are building:

  • construction is underway on a new lodge addition in Canmore with 63 residential units, new kitchen facilities, and more
  • planning is underway on a high level care facility in Canmore with 60 care units and all required amenity spaces

All told we currently house, or help to house approximately 425 residents of the Bow Valley in 8 permanent and 1 interim housing projects encompassing 36 separate buildings between 3 separate communities.

We are a self-governing body. We partner with two provincial ministries and five municipal governments, along with numerous local and community agencies to provide and promote safe and appropriate housing to our region.


The BVRH Vision Statement

Bow Valley Regional Housing aspires to collaborate with relevant agencies to ensure that suitable programming that will mitigate the housing needs of our client base is available. We will:

  • Make decisions and recommendations using relevant and valid data regarding community trends and housing needs.
  • Obtain funding to develop infrastructure that meets identified needs for social and senior’s affordable housing programs.
  • Embrace operating principles that incorporate innovation, service excellence and best practices.
  • Attract and retain highly qualified and caring staff.

BVRH has approximately 36 employees based in either Bow River Lodge (Canmore) or Cascade House (Banff). Our Administration and Maintenance Teams are based in Canmore but serve all of our operations. We have Housekeeping and Food Service Teams in both of our lodges.


BVRH Values

Service: client-focus; empathy; caring; commitment to quality and; a guiding philosophy of serving our clients in their homes.

Integrity and Accountability: high ethics; professionalism; transparency; accountability and; inclusiveness.

Efficacy: sustainability; innovation; versatility; collaboration; communication; vision and; resourcefulness.