Affordable housing options sought for Summerland

When the municipality issues its request for proposals for the former RCMP site, the plans will involve an affordable housing component.

When the municipality issues its request for proposals for the former RCMP site on Jubilee Road East, the plans will involve an affordable housing component.

A memo from municipal administrator Tom Day said the two objectives for the project are to raise revenues from alternate sources and to provide additional alternative housing options.

The site has been vacant for around a year, since the Summerland RCMP detachment moved into a newer and larger Pineo Court location.

The former RCMP location is owned by the municipality.

Earlier, the municipality had considered setting up its own development, a pocket neighbourhood, on the site, but Mayor Janice Perrino said a housing initiative would be best left to developers.

“It was a good plan, but not as viable for us,” she said. “It’s much better for a developer to take it on.”

For years, municipal councils have been examining ways to bring affordable housing to the community.

Perrino said there are not many lower priced properties in Summerland. This in turn affects the market prices.

“There’s not a lot of inventory in moderately priced homes for families,” she said. “We don’t have enough homes available in the lower, more affordable range.”

Day said affordable housing agreements are already in place in other B.C. communities including Whistler and Victoria.

Coun. Martin Van Alphen said measures must be taken to ensure that a development here does not later become restricted to seniors. At present, many of the townhouse and condominium developments in the community have age restrictions.

“If we’re truly going to look at affordable housing, I don’t want to see age restrictions,” he said.

He added that he wants to see the units sold to young families and not purchased as investment properties.

“I don’t want to see these rented out,” he said.

Coun. Lloyd Christopherson said the concept is something new for Summerland.

“I think this is an innovative and exciting proposal,” he said.

He added that a covenant will be needed in order to ensure the units remain affordable in the future.

Details about the development, including the number of units and the price, are not known at present.

Perrino said the municipality’s growth strategy includes affordable housing, which is needed in order to bring growth to the community.

Proposals will be accepted until Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. Details are available on the municipal website at summerland.ca.