A lack of affordable housing is a problem Qualicum Beach council wants to address. Pictured is the Qualicum-Parksville Kiwanis Housing Society’s planned affordable housing project. (DYS Illustration)

A lack of affordable housing is a problem Qualicum Beach council wants to address. Pictured is the Qualicum-Parksville Kiwanis Housing Society’s planned affordable housing project. (DYS Illustration)

Qualicum Beach considers spending $50K on consultant to develop town housing plan

Objective is to create a housing committee or task force

Qualicum Beach’s committee of the whole is recommending to council the town invest $50,000 to hire a consultant to develop a housing plan.

A motion was unanimously passed by council on Dec. 1, that the town put out a request for proposal with submission deadline set in early in 2022, with the addition of a consideration of a housing needs assessments.

The objective is to create a housing committee or task force. A second motion was passed but not unanimously that the creation of the committee should be based on three guidelines: That the purpose of the housing committee is to develop of a housing plan for Qualicum Beach as detailed in s. 3.1.14 of the official community plan; the scope of the housing plan should not include a review of housing issues or policies that are already addressed in the OCP; the terms of reference for the housing committee should be based on the OCP review steering committee terms of reference.

READ MORE: Benchmark price of single-family home in Parksville Qualicum Beach hits $903K

Mayor Brian Wiese and Coun. Scott Harrison voted against the second motion.

Harrison wanted to know exactly the focus of the committee would be and that it should not overlap with the OCP housing objectives and other initiatives already in place

“I am not sure where the direction is,” said Harrison. “Because if we give a consultant $50,000 and say ‘we want you to produce a document’ but might just end up reiterating what the Regional District of Nanaimo has already done.”

Coun. Anne Skipsey indicated the report will help inform council and the community as to where the gaps are in regards to the housing situation in town.

“What kind of housing is missing from our mix?” Skipsey asked. “And then how do we get the type of housing that we’re trying to provide or that is needed in the community? If we keep approving single-family dwellings, that are over a million dollars, we’re not going to meet our housing objectives.”

Harrison said if the goal is determined the gaps are in terms of the housing stock in the community, the underlying problem is the town has some of the most expensive land on Vancouver Island.

“We’re the second-most expensive community north of the Malahat,” said Harrison. “We have building costs that are very high. So it’s difficult to build anything at an affordable price point for most households.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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