I hope you’ve all survived April Fools with only slight embarrassment, and we can now get into what happened in March. It’s been a bit of a slower month, so I will keep it fairly brief.
1220 Lockyer Rd
The board decided in a 3-2 vote to move the Temporary Use Permit Application for 1220 Lockyer Rd to a public hearing and a 3rd reading. The report can be found here on p.1-20. Make sure to show up for the public hearing to have your say, date TBA!
Church Rd well
On March 8 we met at the location of our new Church Rd well for the official ground-breaking. It was an emotional event for the board and staff, because everyone has worked long and hard for this one. We hope it’ll be completed before drought season is over this year, you may have already seen the trees come down along Reed Rd, South of North Rd, for the new watermain going in. BC Hydro is adding 3-phase power in the area too, so much needs to be accomplished. The project will roughly add the equivalent of one more Chapman Lake to our water system in the summer.
The official ground-breaking ceremony of Church Rd well (left to right): Lori Pratt (SCRD Area B), Adam Nanson (Maycon Construction), Councilor Wilson Williams (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation), Darnelda Siegers (SCRD Chair), Remko Rosenboom, (SCRD General Manager, Infrastructure Services), Mayor Bill Beamish (Town of Gibsons), Mark Hiltz (SCRD Area F)
We’ve had some discussions around the board and with staff about the hot-button and politically charged term “affordable housing”. “Affordable housing” is defined by the CMHC when a household spends less than 30% of its pre-tax income on adequate shelter. The median household income on the Sunshine Coast, according to Statistics Canada, is $71,989 per year, so 30% of the income would mean a rent/mortgage of roughly $1,800 per month per household.
A full house or even a 2-bedroom suite are trending above that now, and housing stock that is priced below that is in low supply.
Current demand for housing on the Coast is high, as many have discovered how awesome it is here, and people are no longer bound to the city as much as they were pre-pandemic. Creating more housing is not the answer for affordability, as demand will continue to be higher than supply for the foreseeable future, especially once we get hourly ferry service (still a few years out).
The push therefore needs to be for housing diversity, especially smaller, more affordable units in the 600-1200 square foot range, meant to service singles, couples and small families.
How we’ll be able to achieve that is the big question. The Town of Gibsons and the District of Sechelt have more tools at their disposal (and more favorable zoning), but I think the responsibility to create housing diversity should not rest solely with the municipalities. More community dialogue is needed around this, and some debate around whether the current OCP adequately addresses the lack of housing diversity.
Here is a recent UBCM report on right sizing housing to create better affordability.
Donna McMahon’s newsletter
For more info and some different perspectives, there’s Donna’s latest newsletter, as always full of great information.
That’s it from me for now. In case you have any questions or concerns, you can always email me.