Qualicum Beach town council started discussion around a affordable housing project downtown, in a move Mayor Brian Wiese called a priority for council.
It’s the first stage in creating an affordable housing project on the town-owned land at Railway Street and Village Way West. The land has to first be rezoned to allow for medium-density housing.
“We know we’re going to build some affordable housing there, in partnership with BC Housing and whoever else that gets on board, it’s a bigger deal than just one,” said Mayor Wiese.
He said it’s important for the town to start the process of rezoning the land so when they get the opportunity to move forward, they won’t have to go through a time consuming process.
“So that’s all that is, we’re just getting prepared, so when the opportunity comes we don’t have to go through that,” he said. “We’re saying get everything lined up so when we get the opportunity to put a shovel in the ground, that we’re not going for zoning at that point in time.”
Wiese said he sees housing as an especially pressing issue, and that this project could help make opportunities for younger families to find housing in Qualicum Beach.
“We have 22 open holes of commercial downtown and part of that reason is there’s no workers here and the reason there’s no workers here is there’s nowhere to live,” he said. “There’s less than one per cent rentals and even those are ridiculously expensive, so we need to get some younger families in town that are going to take some of these jobs downtown.”
Council will talk more about affordable housing during their next meeting on Jan. 15.