Years of work ahead for housing authority – Winter 2018 goal set

A housing authority could be helping Sun Peaks’ employees secure housing as soon as next winter. Planning on the authority began last fall as the housing crunch impacted the mountain and community.

When councillor Ines Popig expressed concern about Mayor Al Raine’s 2018 target, he said it may be optimistic but they need to have a goal.

“I’d like to think a year from now we will be underway,” Raine said. “It’s easy to say a whole bunch of reasons why we can’t do these things but we’ve got to move.”

Raine said their housing authority will use Whistler’s model as inspiration but will include some key differences.

For example, Raine doesn’t see retired people obtaining housing through the authority or the authority owning and managing properties, at least not at the start.

He would like to see homes available at less than market value for employers to purchase and rent to employees. It would be up to the business to ensure employees used the space.

Land would likely be acquired with Sun Peaks Resort LLP (SPR) and the provincial government working together, then working with a developer to create packages employers can purchase.

If the home was no longer needed by a business it could be sold back to the housing authority for use by another business.

“Over time housing will be more affordable,” Raine said.

In addition to the developed lots, which Raine would like to see spread throughout the municipality, there will likely be homes available at less than market value for long term employees to purchase.

“If you don’t have housing and you work here for a number of years we want to help out,” Raine said. “It’s very important that people who are living outside of Sun Peaks get the opportunity to live inside Sun Peaks. The majority of people who work in Sun Peaks should be able to live here.”

Inclusionary zoning, which requires new projects to make a number of units to those with low or moderate incomes, is also on council’s radar, but Raine said it may be difficult to keep developers in the resort with it in place.

Raine said he would recommend council to bonus density for developers and exchange an increased density for the ability to rent or sell a number of units to employees.