The City of Kelowna and Urban Matters was awarded the Planning Institute of British Columbia’s (PIBC) gold award for excellence in policy planning for its Equity and Inclusion in Housing Needs Assessment.
The category honours the development and application of leading-edge policies that enhance the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities.
“Policy and Planning and Social Development teams, in concert with Urban Matters, represents both an innovative and ground-breaking approach to understanding the housing needs of our community both today and into the future,” the city’s policy and planning manager Danielle Noble-Brandt said during the council meeting on Monday.
The Housing Needs Assessment introduced a new, innovative paradigm, called the Housing Wheelhouse, which takes stock of the diverse needs of residents. Unlike the standard “linear” approach where the end goal is homeownership, the wheelhouse promotes equity and inclusion as needs of Kelowna’s residents change with age, income and life stage.
Kelowna’s resiliency and housing health were also key components in the award-winning policies.
Mayor Colin Basran gave his thanks on behalf of council on May 27 after being presented the award.
“I’d like to echo the thanks to everyone involved including city staff, Urban Matters, Interior Health and our other community partners that made this happen,” he said.
“I think it’s just another reminder that we are leading the conversations in the country when it comes to housing,” Basran said. “And I know that not everyone, but certainly, there’s a perception by some that maybe we were asleep at the wheel when it comes to housing, but in fact, we are leading a lot of the conversations and solutions that are now being implemented by other municipalities across the country.”
“This is a really cool award, and I think we’re all very proud of the work we’re doing,” he said. “So, let’s keep it going.”
The award was first presented to staff on May 8 at the BC Land Summit Conference. There, the PIBC Evaluation Committee said the wheelhouse project “stood out as a great example for the planning profession.”