Wednesday, February 25, 2015

City Council divides up the work for two City Housing Committees

Councillor Thorkelson reads out the
Terms of Reference for the City's
Two Housing committees
Monday night's City Council session provided the first major step forward in addressing a frequent topic of discussion at City Hall of late, as Councillor Joy Thorkelson delivered her Report outlining the Terms of Reference for Two City of Prince Rupert Committees on Housing.

Councillor Thorkelson was tasked with providing a report to Council after the February 10th session, when Council chose to put aside a report on the formation of a Housing Committee from the City Manager.

Instead, Council turned to Councillor Thorkelson for more background, when she outlined her vision for how the City should address the city's housing issues

Monday Councillor Thorkelson was back with her report, offering up a quick review of the topic and how Council got to this point. Explaining further what her vision forward is for the two committees and how they may start to provide some momentum on the long running issue.

Council members discussed her Report and the expectations from it, with Councillor Cunningham in particular expressing a desire to move quickly on the theme in order to address some of the outstanding concerns of Council.

And while Housing may have been a key item of interest for Mayor Brain during the 2014 election campaign, the lead it seems at this time is being taken by Councillors Thorkelson and Cunningham.

Both have taken on the duties of leading the two Committees, dividing the work further among the remaining members of City Councillors.

Following those discussions, Council set in motion their nominations for the two Committees, one to deal with issues of Prioritization and the other to work in areas of of Identification.

And while the Mayor will sit on both, what his duties with the two committees will be wasn't the focus of Monday nights division of work.

Leading the Prioritization Committee with be Councillor Joy Thorkelson, joining her will be Councillor Nelson Kinney and Councillor Blair Mirau.

The Terms of Reference for the Prioritization Committee include:

Identify the extent of: Critical Housing needs, Urgent or Looming Housing needs, Necessary, but not, urgent Housing Needs and review Future Housing Desires.

As well, the Committee will be tasked to collect a list of suggestions from the community on how some of these needs may be met.

Councillor Cunningham will take charge of the Identification Committee, with Councillors Niesh and Randhawa working with him to review the issues related to identifying housing capacity and availability in the community.

The Terms of Reference for the Identification Committee include:

Engage with the City Planning department, Social Services, Salvation Army and the public to identify rental units, temporary units and multiple family housing units.

Engage with CMHC, B. C. Housing and M'akola housing to determine present, immediate future and medium term housing needs and supply.

Meet with local realtors, apartment owners and others to determine present rental availabilities and predicted growth in the private sector.

Both Committees will have the power to add on additional members to their groups as they see fit.

The two committees are expected to provide their first overview sometime in April.

You can review the full Report to Council from the Agenda from Monday evening (pages 11-13), with the discussion related to the committee structure found below from the City's Video Archive starting at the 38 minute mark.

For more items related to Housing see our archive page here, for further background on City Council developments see our Archive page.

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