Due to COVID-19, the timing of each phase shown below was extended by a couple of months. As of July 2020, the community consultation phase had been completed, with a Coast-wide survey attracting 604 respondents. Currently, the project consultant is reviewing the data collected. A final housing needs report is expected to be presented to Council, and then made available to the public, in fall 2020.
About the Regional 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. Under the legislation, local governments are required to collect local data to understand housing supply, demand and the provision of housing across the housing spectrum.
We have three years from the date legislation was introduced to complete an initial housing needs report and then these must be updated on a five-year cycle. The information gathered in the housing needs report will help communities to identify gaps and address additional factors that may be impacting housing supply.
Through the housing needs report processes, local governments will be looking closely at:
- Population trends (who is living in our communities?)
- Affordability (how much does it cost to live here and who is able to afford housing?)
- Future demand (who might live here in the future and what types of housing might they need?)
Here on the Sunshine Coast, the Town of Gibsons, District of Sechelt, and Sunshine Coast Regional District have partnered together to undertake a regional housing needs assessment. By doing so we have taken advantage of a provincial grant to support our local governments to complete the housing needs assessment as part of one regional project. This project will include engagement with key stakeholders, including residents within the region. A broad range of community data regarding affordability, population (current and projected), real estate, homelessness and insecure housing, household incomes, dwelling unit types and condition, will be collected and analyzed for each community.
Like many communities in BC, the Sunshine Coast is experiencing significant housing challenges around affordability and availability. In fact, according to BC Non-Profit Housing Association, the Sunshine Coast contains the highest proportion of renters in BC spending more than 50% of their income on housing.
In the third quarter of 2019, the Town of Gibsons received a grant from the UBCM Housing Needs Reports Program for a much-needed ‘Regional Housing Needs Assessment’ for the Sunshine Coast.
The project is being managed by the Town of Gibsons, in partnership with the Sunshine Coast Regional District and the District of Sechelt, and aims to update the 2014 report Housing on the Sunshine Coast: Trends, Needs and Directions.