City to apply for grant to study housing needs

New provincial study is mandating that municipalities undertake a housing needs report

The city is applying for a grant towards the creation of a report that will identify housing needs across a wide spectrum of the local Cranbrook population.

If successful, the grant will bring in $30,000 from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) that will go towards a new provincially mandated Housing Needs Report that is expected to cost approximately $80,000.

The report, which is expected to be tendered out by a consultant in collaboration with city resources and staff, isn’t due until 2022, however, the first intake for grant applications expires at the end of May.

Ron Fraser, director, Office of Innovation and Collaboration with the city, said the report is expected to be of value to city planners, economic development staff, First Nations, non-profits, and local businesses.

“What the report involves, there’s over 50 fields of data they want collected,” Fraser told council. “Everything from details on people’s income, the type of jobs they’re in, the education, all the type of housing, who lives in what housing with what style of income…

“So it’s very detailed, just even the data collection, then they want forecasting and analysis, where are we going to be in five years? Specifically the need for affordable housing, low-income housing, that sort of thing.”

Mayor Pratt took issue with the eligible maximum funding ratio between larger and smaller communities.

For example, the Village of Slocan, with a population of 272, is eligible for $15,000, while the Village of Silverton, with a population of 195, is eligible for the same amount.

“I’m sure a consultant could go to those two cities, one in the morning, one in the afternoon and get that study done, and yet, the two of them get the same amount of money that we get,” Pratt said.

“There’s a huge discrepancy here and I think somehow we should bring that to the attention of the ministry because this is totally slanted in the wrong direction.”

The report process is expected to take approximately 12 months, which will include the data collection, public engagement and a city-wide survey before the final report is presented to council.

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