Council got a look at the Regional District Central Okanagan’s draft housing strategy at its June 21 meeting. (File photo)

Council got a look at the Regional District Central Okanagan’s draft housing strategy at its June 21 meeting. (File photo)

Lake Country council sees need for affordable housing advocacy

‘We’ve had a number of affordable housing projects that failed at the provincial and federal level’

Lake Country is looking for some advocacy help in building affordable housing in the community.

Council got a look at the Regional District Central Okanagan’s draft housing strategy at Tuesday’s (Jun 21) meeting, presented by Matt Thompson with Urban Matters who put together the report.

“You talked about advocacy, is that direct advocacy?” asked Coun. Blair Ireland. “We’ve had a number of affordable housing projects that failed at the provincial and federal level. At the federal level, it was the (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation) that said we didn’t need any affordable housing in our community.”

Ireland added council does as much as it can in trying to get affordable housing projects built, and also asked if advocacy might help with another problem.

“As soon as it’s out of our hands and into staff hands, the project changes from an affordable housing project to what every other single project in Lake Country has turned into, which is luxury housing,” he said. “We don’t seem to have the tools to prevent that kind of thing from happening.”

Thompson indicated the housing strategy could be of benefit to council.

“In our experience, a regional voice is stronger than the voice of an individual municipality,” he said.

Coun. Cara Reed also voiced concern about the lack of affordable housing in Lake Country.

“It’s very strange that we can apparently afford 90 per cent of our RCMP costs as a small community but we’re too small to have any affordable housing needs,” added Reed referring to Coun. Ireland’s comments. “Every municipality and group can benefit from affordable housing wherever it sits in the region.”

The RDCO draft strategy should be finalized this month.

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@GaryBarnes109
gary.barnes@kelownacapnews.com

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affordable housingCentral Okanagan Regional DistrictCity CouncilLake Country