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by The Canadian Press Posted Dec 12, 2016 9:17 pm MDT Last Updated Dec 14, 2016 at 6:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Alberta Rocky Mountain town gets OK to build affordable housing project BANFF, Alta. – The Alberta Rocky Mountain town of Banff has been given the go-ahead for its affordable housing project, subject to any appeals.The municipal planning commission approved of the town’s plan on Monday, and since then, the town has gotten word of two appeals.The resort community has struggled with high rents and low vacancy.Sharon Oakley, housing sustainability co-ordinator, says it’s been a constant problem for the town, which has been constrained from growing by the fact that it’s located in a national park.Parks Canada released 14 lots to the town in December 2015, and Oakley hopes to see some solutions for those struggling to find housing.She says she’s seen a single mother with two teenaged boys living in a makeshift apartment in a parkade filled with exhaust fumes, and a person who was living in the garage of a friend that had no plumbing or heating.At the seniors’ centre in town, Oakley says it was common to find mattresses stored under the ramp and women in their 50s living in their cars during the winter.She says the economic downturn caused by low oil and gas prices has made things worse.“Based on the studies from 2012, if we continue on the trajectory of growth that we are currently on, we are short 430 to 755 units,” says Oakley. “It’s a significant shortage, so we have zero vacancy, and it’s been like that for three years.”She is excited to see that the town will now build a $22 million affordable housing project, which will provide 132 units reserved for people who fall under the guideline of 32 per cent of income used for housing.“It impacts everyone, from people who come here that can’t find a place to live and then they leave and we have less employees to work for the businesses,” she says. “We are a tourist community, the need is across the board.”The project is expected to break ground in January and will take 20 months to build.(CTV Calgary, The Canadian Press)