On November 18, 2020, Urban Matters hosted a Stakeholder Workshop to review and discuss the Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Report. A video of the workshop may be viewed above.
The Stakeholder Workshop included a presentation of some of the final key findings of the Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Assessment Report and presented ideas for possible approaches to better address critical housing needs on the Coast.
The most common opportunities for local governments to support the housing system can be divided into four approaches:
- Facilitate development and protect existing needed housing types and supports through regulation and planning
- Incentivizing and investing in needed housing and supports
- Forming and convening partnerships to advance needed housing and supports
- Advocating to senior levels of government and educating residents about needed housing and supports
Each area is discussed within the presentation as well as the role of community partners and other levels of government.
On October 6, 2020, the Sunshine Coast Housing Needs Assessment Report was presented to the Planning & Development Committee by Matt Thomson of Urban Planning. Read the accompanying Staff Report, which summarizes the SCHNA report in relation to the Town of Gibsons, here.
The results of the Housing Needs Assessment are intended to be used to inform a range of policy and planning initiatives such as Official Community Plans, Zoning Bylaws, development projects, economic development initiatives, and other policy, including a Regional Growth Strategy.
The next step is for Urban Matters to complete a report outlining options and best practices for facilitating, investing/incentivizing, regulating, educating, and partnering to encourage the development of housing types based on the results of this study. This report is anticipated to be complete in winter 2020/2021.
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.
In July 2020, the community consultation phase was completed, with a Coast-wide survey attracting 604 respondents.