Thursday, December 1, 2016

Council hears Mayor Brain's take on recent affordable housing plans

With the prospect of sixty new affordable family and seniors housing units on the horizon, Mayor Lee Brain offered up a short review of some of the progress on the housing front of late by the City of Prince Rupert.

With the Mayor welcoming the news from the Province of British Columbia last week, which will see new housing units created on the North Coast through the province's partnerships with Metlakatla, Kitkatla, Lax Kw'alaams and Port Edward.

And while the City of Prince Rupert was not mentioned directly in any of the notes on the plans released by the province last week, the Mayor was quick to state on Monday that Council remains focused on the issues related to housing.

He offered up an outline on some of the City's efforts on the housing file, calling attention to the meetings that they have held with BC Housing in recent months.

While noting that the City doesn't do housing and doesn't intake those housing units. The Mayor observed that essentially the city directs those prospects to other agencies, adding that the City was able to direct the current process to Metlakatla and Kitkatla.

As for those two proposed developments, the Mayor observed how both housing options would offer up to 30 units each through the province's partnership with the two First Nations. As well, he noted that there is the potential that there could be increases to the number of units available as the process for the two projects moves forward.

When it comes to a number of other housing concerns in the region, Mayor Brain outlined how the City continues to look to the next level of the provincial housing fund. He made note of community interest in the need for a men's shelter or an alcohol treatment centre, two elements that are considered by the city as one of their big needs.

He wrapped up his short overview of the recent announcements as a positive development for the community, adding that 2017 could be a "fantastic year for us."

More details on last week's Housing announcement by the Province can be found here.

Housing was also on the mind of Councillor Barry Cunningham, he provided Council with a short report on his recent attendance at the BC Housing Forum in Prince George last week.

He outlined how the trip made for a bit of an eye opening experience for him, bringing back a number of areas of interest, particularly related to the theme of the need to address the issue of Seniors housing, a group which as he discovered from the Prince George forum makes for the fastest growing age group for Prince Rupert.

Mr. Cunningham explained to Council that when it comes to providing for housing for that group in the community, the thirty units announced last week would not even take care of the waiting list that is currently found in town. Adding that City needs to remain focused on both Seniors and Affordable housing.

He reinforced for council how the need to provide for housing for Seniors is key to the overall economic picture for the community, reminding council of his frequent observations that if Seniors leave for other communities a lot leaves with them.

You can examine more notes on that Prince George Housing forum from our blog item of last week.

A look at the talking points on Housing from Council can be found on the City's Video Archive below, starting at the thirty three minute mark.

More notes on housing issues of the Northwest can be reviewed here.

Further items related to discussions on issues at City Council can be examined on our Archive page here.

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