Tuesday, April 18, 2023

City Manager Buchan explores range of themes from UBCM housing Forum; notes of items of interest, consequences for Prince Rupert without more housing

Last week's Prince Rupert City Council session offered a chance for a short recap on the UBCM hosted Housing Forum of earlier this month, with Councillor Nick Adey asking for some notes from the event from City Manager Robert Buchan. 

Doctor Buchan noted of the unusual nature of the forum, with the housing crisis the main focus for discussion and one which highlighted the province's new housing strategy and housing plans.

Of note, he observed of the attention given to the mandate for secondary suites for every single family home in the province, something he noted was similar to what Prince Rupert does.

"Prince Rupert just legalized secondary suites about a year and a half ago approximately ...  In the high growth communities they're looking at mandating, four perhaps even six housing units on every single family lot, every lot that is single family now.

Through either redevelopment or conversion of large houses into what you would call a multiplex, so turning one into six, which is a significant amount of housing density within existing fabric, so that's a powerful move"

Mr. Buchan also highlighted one takeaway from the four that he hopes Prine Rupert residents take note of was funding for conversion of homes towards additional housing stock.

"I think of particular significance perhaps for Prince Rupert residents that have a property that they are thinking of suiting, turning into a suite, or making improvements that make it a legal suite.

One of the programs that the province is announcing with this plan, is to provide a forgivable 40,000 dollar loan for residents to do renovations to their homes to make a secondary suite.

So anybody in Prince Rupert that has a property that they could improve and make a building code compliant secondary suite, 40,000 dollars would go a long way towards that.

They are identifying about 3,000 of these loans in the province, so I'm hoping that Prince Rupert property owners are paying attention so we can grab some of that"

The City Manager also observed at somewhat of a consensus among those in attendance towards the housing crisis and the lack of supply that continues to add to the issue, noting how there has not been enough housing construction in the province.

As well as to note of the exit of the Federal Government from housing in the province and across Canada.

"The Federal Government used to be heavily involved in building homes and when they left that policy initiative decades ago ... if they had not left it, there would be approximately another approximately 600,000 homes in Canada. 

Which is approximately what we're short at this point. So a really good reason for the Federal government to get back into the game, because it's not working on its own. 

The Federal Government has historically played a very important part and I think there was strong encouragement for that to be reinstated."

The topic of Immigration was also a topic for the forum and the demand that it will create for housing across the province, the city manager noting of the challenge that will present towards building more homes, and how it will mean more involvement in housing from both the Federal and provincial governments.

Mr. Buchan also noted of the current challenges locally and the impact and even some of the consequences for the community without more housing.

"We know the impact here all to well, and I think that in terms of the tools that have been identified we are using those tools.  

What we really need to be able to do is attract developers more effectively, we have some, we actually made more contacts during that forum and made some personal invites for developers to come up to Prince Rupert. 

But we need to see some action on that, because it is critical to economic growth in Prince Rupert, growth of the port. 

Because if we don't get that housing, that becomes another push for automation at the port"

Mr Buchan's review of the Housing Forum can be viewed from the City's Video Archive starting at the one hour seven minute mark.

UBCM has also provided some extensive material on the from of April 4 and 5, their work includes information on seven areas of note from the forum, which you can dig into here.

As the Prince Rupert City Manager noted, some of the forum was focused on the recent housing announcements of Premier David Eby and UBCM has also provided a video of his Question and Answer session from the forum on those housing initiative. 

More notes on Housing in Prince Rupert can be reviewed here, while a regional look can be explored here.

A look at last weeks City Council session cam be reviewed here.

1 comment:

  1. Has our past and current city manager been using fisher price tools?

    Since 2013, Prince Rupert has permitted 192 housing starts.
    In the same time, Terrace has permitted 569 housing starts.

    Source - https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/data/statistics/economy/building-permits-housing-starts-sales