Over the last decade, housing on the Sunshine Coast has become increasingly expensive, spurring an urgent need for additional affordable housing options.
The Town of Gibsons is working to address this challenge, both by partnering on local development projects with key organizations, such as BC Housing and the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society, and by working to amend our policies and bylaws in order to encourage the creation of more affordable housing units.
At present, three Affordable Housing projects have been initiated and approved at: 571 Shaw Road, 744 Franklin Road and 749 School Road (Old RCMP site). Please refer to each project’s dedicated web page to learn about its history and current status.
Additionally, Council has put money aside in its 2020 Five Year Financial Plan for the development of property parcels at three other locations in Lower Gibsons:
- Beach Avenue/Glen Road
- Bals Lane/Seaview Road
- Glassford Road/Gower Point Road
These sites could create revenue for the Town’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund if sold, or serve as sites for future affordable housing projects.
The Town has also employed OCP and zoning amendments to help increase the supply of affordable housing.
In 2015, for example, the Town legalized Secondary Suites and introduced the Garden Suite program.
More recently, the Town has been working to develop a Short Term Rentals policy which strives to balance the needs of homeowners, their neighbours, long-term renters and visitors to the Town of Gibsons.
In 2020, the Town revised the regulations and bylaws related to Secondary Suites. These changes allow for secondary suites in duplexes and townhomes, provided there is a vertical separation from the foundation to the roof separating each living space. The new regulations also permit “lock-off suites” in apartments.
Additionally, Council adopted an OCP and Zoning amendment in the Poplar Lane/Davis Road neighbourhood which is designed to provide gentle infill density, while maintaining the character of the existing neighbourhood.
Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Assessment
In 2018, the Province introduced new legislation requiring all local governments in British Columbia to review their local housing needs and to consider those specific, local needs when creating policy and making decisions about future development.
In 2020, the Town of Gibsons partnered with the District of Sechelt and Sunshine Coast Regional District to undertake the region’s first housing needs assessment. Please visit this webpage for more information about the Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Assessment.
Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society
Incorporated in October 2015, the SCAHS is a group of local residents with experience and interest in housing. It aims to develop new housing units, and act as a Community Land Trust, leveraging its assets to develop new housing, and working with tenants as equity partners to build wealth. Forming positive partnerships – with tenants, the local building industry, municipal governments and others who recognize the importance of affordable, decent housing – is a key tenet of the SCAHS.
On October 1, 2019, Gibsons Council voted unanimously to offer the SCAHS $30,000 in 2019 and $50,000 in 2020 so that the society may hire an Executive Director and a Project Manager. The money will come from the Town’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund. Read the related staff report here.
In February 2020, the SCAHS requested additional funding from the Town of Gibsons in relation to the Shaw Road project. Read more about that request here.
“Workforce Rental” Housing
The focus of the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society is on working families and individuals who do not have other options in the current real estate market. Its main priority is often termed ‘workforce rental’. Workforce rental housing is intended to serve households that cannot afford market rental rates without paying more than 30% of their income toward housing costs, but that earn too much to receive any form of government subsidy or support.
For further information or to provide comments on Affordable Housing in Gibsons, please contact:
Lesley-Anne Staats, Director of Planning
Town of Gibsons
Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society