Revelstoke council adopts affordable housing action plan

For sale sign in the foreground, houses and mountains in the background.
Revelstoke city council adopted a housing action plan to try and get a handle on the city's affordable housing crisis. Photo by Meagan Deuling.
Meagan Deuling - VF 2590 - RevelstokeBC | 29-08-2022
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Revelstoke's mayor and councillors adopted a new plan to help give the city the legislative tools to alleviate the ongoing affordable housing crisis.

City staff started working on the Revelstoke Housing Action plan in the fall of 2021. They were guided by three reports: The Revelstoke Housing Needs and Demands Assessment, the Population and Housing Projections, and
the Phase 1 Baseline Report and Housing Projections.

Along with this the city also asked the public for input.

Revelstoke has been growing so quickly that some of the data used to inform the action plan, from the 2016 census, is no longer relevant. Therefore planners said that the recommendations and guidelines in the plan are a bare minimum to meet future housing needs of the city.

Two tools the city can use to encourage affordable housing are what are called, density bonusing and community development amenities.

The idea is the city would negotiate with private developers, to have them contribute money to an affordable housing pot if they’re allowed to build, or set aside a portion of the development for affordable housing.

Coun. Ron Elliot cautioned that municipal governments shouldn’t get too involved in the affordable housing equation, saying the city can set the stage with policies and then get out of the way.

Coun. Michael Brooks Hill said, at this point, the city should be doing everything it can to address the current affordable housing shortage.

"There’s never going to be a profit for the private sector in housing people with special needs or who for whatever reason are on disability. The private sector will never find that profitable,” he said.

Brooks-Hill went on to say that Revelstoke will never solve its housing shortage, but if the city follows the plan it will lead them in the right direction to make it better.

Councillors agreed that it is be good to have the affordable housing plan in place now, before a new mayor and council is voted in this coming October.

Now that this plan has been passed by council, the next steps are to create a work plan to implement it.

Click the link below to listen to a news report that aired on Aug. 24, 2022 on StokeFM.