West Kelowna’s first housing strategy should be completed by this summer.
The city contracted Urban Matters to help develop the strategy in December 2022. At its Jan. 10 regular meeting, council was provided an introduction to the project.
In part, the strategy will focus on addressing housing gaps in the community and the needs identified by the city.
“More specifically it identifies the actions and policies that will be implemented to address housing gaps in the community,” said Marina Jozipovic with Urban Matters.
Key priorities include improving the supply of rental housing, increasing affordable homeownership opportunities, creating more missing middle housing (duplexes and accessory dwellings), and adding more subsidized and supportive housing.
“The housing strategy needs to provide clear and consistent direction for council and staff,” added Jozipovic.
She noted that partnerships between all levels of government, as well as the non-profit and private sectors, are key in providing various housing needs.
“It is an important aspect to this work,” she said.
“Which is already happening in Ontario, the provincial government is mandating building but they’re not stepping to the plate to help cover the infrastructure and servicing costs that go with that increased growth,” he said.
The city’s CAO, Paul Gipps, noted that having a strategy allows West Kelowna to set its own course.
“For those communities that don’t have a housing strategy and don’t address the needs of growth in the community, they (province) will likely use their paramountcy to advance projects.”
Urban Matters has started stakeholder staff workshops and will continue that work, along with community engagement, over the next few months.
The final housing strategy is expected to be presented to council in June or July.