By Camille Aubin
The village of Radium Hot Springs will receive $15,000 from the province to prepare a report analyzing the housing needs of the community.
“The lack of affordable housing and the need for additional supportive housing options are common to many B.C. communities, but the specific needs vary considerably from one place to the next,” said Brian Frenkel, president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) in a press release. “The housing needs report program is designed to strengthen the data available to inform local decision-making to ensure that new developments, whether market-based or supportive, address the needs of communities today and tomorrow.”
Local governments will be able to better understand what the current housing needs really entail once each has completed a report. The provincial government has made it mandatory that each local government in the province conduct a housing needs assessment.
“The village of Radium Hot Springs is eager to move forward with the housing needs assessment with this funding. There have been marked changes in the housing market over the last 18 months, and we are eager to have the most current information to assist us with making decisions in the future,” said mayor Clara Reinhardt.
When asked how the assessment will make a difference, Reinhardt replied “a lot has changed and in order to fully appreciate what our housing situation is, you need to do a report and then that helps you to determine what kind of housing we need moving forward – what kind of projects maybe what we should be approving or not approving, just to try and channel developers into what’s needed versus what will make money. Ideally, of course, we’ll do both.”
“Now that we have the funding approved, we’ll get somebody on the job as quickly as possible. We are one of the last ones (B.C. municipalities) to do it, and part of the reason was, we had kind of hoped that we might be able to get some updated data from the (national) census. So that was our hope,” explained Reinhardt. “I’m not sure that’s going to become a reality. And from what I’m hearing from the government of Canada, there won’t be much data available in time for us… We were hoping to get more because a lot (of the village’s demographic information is) based on the census.”
By April 2022, all local governments must produce their first housing needs report, then they must do so every five years thereafter. Each completed report will be formally received by local councils (or regional boards of directors), and made available online as a resource for anyone interested in learning more about local housing needs.