That as the city's contract planners from iPlan provide some extensive reading on how the City of Prince Rupert could develop a Housing Strategy.
With a number of housing issues currently percolating in the community, the document which is available as part of the City's Agenda Package for tonight's session (see page 11 of the Agenda) perhaps charts a course for Council out of the many challenges currently found from their housing files.
The report which was prepared on February15th, will explore how the City may wish to approach affordable housing, as well as to provide housing stock for those in the trades, professions and working in port related industries.
The introduction notes of the opportunity the strategy presents to address a range of themes on housing in the community.
The value of an interim strategy is that it enables a rapid response to significant emerging housing needs. It can provide some early direction and response in an informed manner to local conditions. The City can subsequently work towards a more robust housing needs assessment and comprehensive housing strategy which can refine and focus the interim approach.
It also reference the City's Vision 2030 plan and provides some data from CMHC to review the amount of housing stock available and the rising cost rents in the community.
The document also explores roles for Local Government when it comes to housing and outlines some of the approaches from other communities in British Columbia.
This report does not respond fully to the housing challenge in Prince Rupert but it does present some important short term actions and a specific proposal that could be scaled in the future to assist in responding to local housing needs. This proposal recommends an active and direct role for the City of Prince Rupert in providing housing options.
Why should the City undertake a direct role in housing?
While this question may inspire some healthy debate in the City, there is support and a precedence for such a role. The province of British Columbia states that it is a joint responsibility across all levels of government to ensure enough affordable housing in BC communities (province of British Columbia.
Some of the other themes the report will deliver background on include areas of Tools and Strategies, among those are:
Mixed Land Use
Increase for Transportation Choices
Development of an Efficient Approval Process
Other recommendations include:
Establishing a Housing Fund
Special Property Tax Levies
Establishing a Housing Commission, Agency or Corporation
Building of Housing
Lobbying of Other governments to provide Affordable Housing
Establish regulations to Control Renovation evictions
Follow up on Provincial requirements for Housing Needs Assessments
The fifteen page document wraps up with a range of recommendations that cover many of the elements that have made for much of the housing debate for the last ten years.