Over the last decade, the price of housing on the Sunshine Coast has risen exponentially, spurring an urgent need for affordable housing options.
The Town of Gibsons is actively working to address this challenge in three ways:
- by partnering on local development projects with key organizations, such as BC Housing and the Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society;
- by working to amend our policies and bylaws in order to encourage the creation of more affordable housing units; and
- by developing of a Town of Gibsons Housing Strategy.
Since 2018, two affordable housing projects have been completed (a three-unit mixed-income development located at 744 Franklin Road and a 40-unit supportive housing complex at 749 School Road) and a third has been approved (at 571 Shaw Road). Please refer to each project’s dedicated web page for more information.
Additionally, Town staff and Council are actively investigating 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. The Garden Suite program is currently being reviewed to determine if it should be extended to more areas of the Town.
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.
Council also 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.
In July 2022, Council approved a new Residential Guest Accommodation/Short Term Rentals policy which prioritizes the needs of long-term renters.
Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Assessment
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.
Community Amenity and Affordable Housing Contribution (CAC) Policy
In cooperation with a consultant, the Town is in the process of updating its Community Amenity and Affordable Housing Contribution Policy, with the goal of developing a revised policy that is transparent and easy-to-understand, as well as fair to both the development community and the Town. For more information about the new CAC’s policy, please refer the dedicated webpage.
Sunshine Coast Affordable Housing Society
Incorporated in October 2015, the SCAHS 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 provide the SCAHS with $30,000 in 2019 and $50,000 in 2020 so that the society could hire an Executive Director and a Project Manager. The money came from the Town’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund. Read the related staff report 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