Thursday, September 23, 2021

Council adopts Housing Actions; puts some into motion as part of Monday evening session

The members of Prince Rupert City Council moved forward with their ongoing work on the housing files of the community, reviewing a report from the city's contract planner Rob Buchan who outlined the scope of the Actions that the city has chosen to take following some workshop work from June of this year.

At the top of the agenda for the night a Recommendation for Council to adopt item Eight on the list which will waive fees for all residential Rezoning, Development Permit and Building Permit applications for one year effective October 1, 2021 to October 1, 2022.

In addition to that fee holiday towards development, the other Housing actions that are the focus of the Report can be reviewed below:

As they discussed the list of housing Action themes, one item that was of some concern was related to Action Number Five and how it would impact on Utility Funds, with council members suggested that it may require a bit more work, suspending that option for now pending a further review.

Councillor Adey led the way on the call to defer that item until a later date pending a review of any budget complications that may stem from it.

"I'm supportive of the vast majority of these, but I do agree that number five is ... carries with it some complexity, as my understanding is that the utility funds are self contained and so if one was to remove the burden of paying from one taxpayer, it would end up falling  in the laps of others. And that doesn't mean that I necessarily oppose it, but I do think that we need to look in a little bit more details about that" -- Councillor Nick Adey

As for the remaining twelve actions, the Council members endorsed the report and their blue print for housing in the months and years to come.

For Councillor Blair Mirau the need for the City to be more involved on housing issues was a key element towards his review of the document.

"It is always I think worth mentioning that even though housing is a provincial jurisdiction, it's quite obvious that there is a role for the municipality to play. Particularly with the incredibly low vacancy rates that we're seeing and the substantive increase in real estate values as well.  So I think this is a very timely report,  I'm very supportive of all the actions as mentioned "-- Councillor Blair Mirau

For his view on the city's work on the housing plan, Mayor Brain took note of how he views the scope of the document.

"It's a very comprehensive list, it's very action oriented, I think a lot of thought and care has gone into it, thanks a lot for that Mr. Buchan" -- Mayor Lee Brain

As we outlined yesterday, Council took advantage of their Housing Action Plan to address one of the twelve themes in place after their affirmative vote, with Council introducing its Renoviction Bylaw which was number three on their Housing Action List.

That Bylaw, as was observed on Monday,  will serve to act as a complement to recent provincial legislation that was enacted by the Horgan NDP government earlier this summer.

You can review the short discussion on the topic from the City's Video Archive starting at the 29 minute mark.

More notes from the Monday Council Session can be explored from our Council Timeline, while an archive of all our stories from the Monday meeting is available here.

For a look at some of the issues of housing in the Prince Rupert area see our Housing archive page.

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