The District of Sechelt has an important role to play in encouraging and enabling creation of affordable housing in our community.
While local government doesn’t and shouldn’t build affordable housing, there are a range of activities that the Mayor, Council, and staff of the District of Sechelt can take that will have a significant impact on the existence – or not – of affordable housing.
Our role in local government is to plan for and lay the groundwork for the future housing stock we want to see here and do all in our power to make it happen. After all, it is the residents of Sechelt – which the Mayor and Council serve – that will benefit or suffer from the availability of affordable housing. A mix of housing in a community increased liveability, relatedness, and aliveness.
Without overall planning and zoning by our local government, private and non-profit development will result in a patchwork of housing that would probably not be ideally located to meet our needs.
Without encouragement, support and efficient handling of development proposals by our local government, private and non-profit development will not result in an adequate amount of housing to meet our needs.
Without facilitation and coordination of individual housing initiatives by our local government, private and non-profit initiatives will miss opportunities for funding or synergies between developments.
The Sunshine Coast Housing Committee has done an analysis of the types of affordable housing possible, the populations that they house, who was providing that type of housing here on the Sunshine Coast, and the gaps between demand and supply that existed. This analysis revealed that some segments of our population are being better addressed than others. For example in Sechelt affordable seniors rental housing is being addressed by the Sunshine Coast Lions Housing group. On the other hand, the need for affordable rental housing for young singles and families is not being addressed.
Current opportunities for increasing our stock of affordable housing include:
- Obtaining funding from BC Housing to create affordable rental housing.
- Supporting the Sunshine Coast Community Services Society in their effort to build affordable housing.
- Helping a collaboration of 3 local groups in their investigation of an apartment building with a mix of market and subsidized rentals.
- Working in conjunction with the shíshálh Nation to coordinate housing needs and potentially apply together for funding through Federal housing programs.
- Collaborating with community associations to identify where higher density housing should be located.
- Identifying developers who might be willing and able to build purpose built rentals.
- Adjusting zoning and the Official Community Plan to provide reliable and up-to-date guidance for the development of affordable housing, and reducing the delays and miscoordination of only reacting to individual development proposals.
Our municipality can assist in paving the way for these private and non-profit initiatives and projects to be explored and, where viable, move forward.