Affordable housing a top priority for Parksville council

Inventory underway for all city-owned properties

Parksville residents paying about $1,197 or less a month on housing are considered to be in the affordable housing threshold.

During a Parksville council committee of the whole meeting on June 3 discussing affordable housing, City of Parksville director of community planning Blaine Russell, said the annual median income within the city in 2019 was just less than $60,000. He added that Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) criteria, which is the same as Parksville criteria, says rent or mortgage costs should not exceed 30 per cent of a household’s gross annual income.

RELATED: Police response, citizens on patrol in Parksville among hot public safety topics

“A household that makes 80 per cent of that median income would be in the $48,000 range. Their core housing need for the year would be $14,300, that means that their minimum rent would be $1,197. If they’re paying that or less, their housing would be considered affordable,” Russell said.

Affordable housing, Russell said, is a broad term and can include entry-level home ownership, regulated rental housing, rental assistance, subsidized housing, non-profit housing, public housing and seniors or supportive housing.

The City of Parksville has policies in place to support affordable housing projects within the city.

“In our zoning bylaw we have density bonuses in some of our zones that if someone enters a housing agreement with the city, they’re able to put additional units on the property as well as they may benefit from the DCC (Development Cost Charges) waiver for those particular units,” Russell said. “Our zoning bylaw has a number of features, density bonuses and also things such as secondary suites, accessory carriage houses, so that’s on a single-family lot where someone could add a rental accommodation to their property for tenants.”

In addition, Russell said, council can consider fee waivers for non-profit societies providing affordable housing within the city.

Examples where affordable housing agreements have been enacted by the city over the years, include at Hustwick Place (33 units), Kingsley Manor (28 units) and ORCA Place (52 units).

RELATED: Affordable, but there are many rules

“In 2019, we have some new market rental units at 151 Despard Avenue East, so one of them is 20 units part of a larger apartment complex. That agreement was just approved recently by council,” Russell said. “We have another application for an additional 28 units, that’s in process.”

Russell outlined some direct actions council can take to further support affordable housing initiatives including, checking if city regulations are any kind of barrier to co-operative housing, packaging fees to encourage more development of affordable housing, looking at DCCs to see if there’s different rates for target areas in the city, consider options to support alternative housing and look at disposing surplus lands for innovative housing options.

“Indirect actions could be partnering with BC Housing to further develop affordable housing projects or Habitat for Humanity,” Russell said.

RELATED: UPDATE: City of Parksville buys 222 Corfield site

Mayor Ed Mayne said city staff are currently doing an inventory of all city-owned properties and once that’s complete, council will have a better understanding of what’s available and how to move forward.

“Our highest priority now is affordable housing, so we’re going to be working on it fully,” Mayne said.

Mayne said there are many reasons why the cost of housing is on the rise, including increasing costs of construction to developers and taxes associated with purchasing property.

“All of those things put together add significantly to the cost of the house,” Mayne said. “We just control DCC costs, we can’t control the building code but we sure can tell the province maybe they should go back and look at building code requirements.”

Kim Burden, executive director of the Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce, spoke during the public comment period saying a recently conducted labour market needs assessment for Parksville showed one of the top priorities as affordable housing.

“We’ve heard of a number of businesses losing shifts, losing bookings, losing business in a sense because they can’t get enough employees because it costs too much to live here,” Burden said. “One of the things that hasn’t been talked about, another piece that came out of that assessment, is transportation. There is some lower cost housing within the region but we don’t have a transportation system that reaches it, so in order for people to get back into Parksville to get to work, they have to own a car.”

The next Parksville COW meeting is on Monday, June 17 from 4-5 p.m. at Knox United Church and will focus on downtown revitalization and economic development.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PQBeat: The Old School House Arts Centre executive director Illana Hester

Listen: Podcast talk includes changes at TOSH, long-term view of local arts scene

‘Soft Shore’ public art installation at Parksville city hall more expensive than planned

Plans to install centerpiece from MAC summer show hits roadblocks

Water flushing in Parksville runs until April

Residents can expect water discolouration

Mid Island Distance runners in fine form as season opens

Club competes at 10th annual Harry Jerome meet

Open house set for Feb. 20 to discuss planned cell tower in Qualicum Beach

Concerned resident has started petition in opposition

WATCH: Man creates intricate replicas of Parksville-area buildings

Historic models currently on display at community centre

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Nanaimo-bound ferry breaks down, but another available for service

Two sailings cancelled Sunday on Tsawwassen-Duke Point route

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Most Read