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Providing affordable housing continues to be pressing issue for Kelowna council

Staff report provides options that could support development of below-market housing
Houses under construction. (Black Press file photo)

Council will be considering several new incentives to address housing affordability in the city.

A staff report reviewing incentives and tools employed by other municipalities shows some additional options the city could implement to support the development of below-market housing.

They include affordability requirements at zoning for a development, affordable ownership, and process improvements.

Coun. Luke Stack commented that the processing of applications by city staff is not a problem.

“The amount of consultation and review at the provincial and government levels is extensive,” he said “Processing is not the barrier to affordable housing.”

Staff brought forward a report in January that provided a broad overview of the city’s approach to addressing housing affordability. Council was most concerned with finding ways to provide more attainable and affordable housing.

READ MORE: More action needed on housing affordability in Kelowna: Staff report

Housing, particularly below-market housing, has historically been a provincial responsibility, but local governments have been increasingly drawn into a larger role regarding housing, according to the report.

“The municipal role begins with ensuring a healthy supply of diverse housing options. Without an ample supply of housing, achieving affordability becomes much harder.”

The report further states that supply alone will not solve the affordability challenges facing low to moderate-income Kelowna households.

“Using municipal incentives has the potential to increase the development of below-market housing to meet the needs of these income groups.”

The city currently administers a number of housing incentives including land partnerships, a density bonus program, parking relaxations, grants in lieu of development cost charges, and revitalization tax exemptions.

Staff is currently working on a new housing needs assessment that will be presented to council at a later date.

READ MORE: Majority of affordable homes approved under federal program not yet constructed


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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
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