Municipality selects consultant to plan for affordable employee housing

The consultant has assembled a team of experts with experience in developing affordable housing in tourism communities
 | December 8, 2021
Photo by Kyle James

Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) will be moving forward with consultant Whistler Centre for Sustainability (WCS) Engagement + Planning, to develop an affordable employee non-market housing strategy. 

At the Sun Peaks Housing Authority’s (SPHA) AGM on Oct. 19, the board supported a request by SPMRM to seek an experienced project-based housing consultant.

At a regular council meeting on Nov. 7, chief administrative officer Shane Bourke revealed they have chosen WCS Engagement + Planning, and council approved proceeding with the selected firm.

“I am pleased to say that we’ve had discussions with a number of firms with experience in this area, but that WCS Engagement + Planning have brought forward a really worthwhile proposal within our expected budget,” said Bourke at the meeting. 

The goal is to provide more affordable options for both rentals and home ownership. Bourke said they were specifically looking for a consultant who understands the unique challenges presented by being a resort municipality, such as only having a fixed amount of land and housing prices increasing faster than the average community. 

“They’ve assembled a team of experts with experience in developing affordable housing in resort communities, including Whistler and Tofino,” said Bourke. “I think we would definitely benefit from their work.”

WCS Engagement + Planning have proposed two phases. The first phase will focus on background research to establish what the non-market housing options are for Sun Peaks moving forward. The second phase will focus on developing the implementation and financial plan that they select.

They will hold a project kickoff meeting on Dec. 13, and begin establishing a project committee to provide the consultants with advice and feedback throughout the process. The committee will include representatives from council, administration and SPHA. Representation from Sun Peaks Resort and Tourism Sun Peaks is also being considered.