Affordable housing solutions examined

High housing costs in the Okanagan Valley will be discussed at an upcoming discussion in Kelowna later this month.

The B.C. Affordable Housing Research and Action Roundtable will be held on Feb. 18.

Carlos Teixeira, associate professor of geography at the UBC-Okanagan campus and one of the organizers of the event, said it is expensive to buy or rent a home in Kelowna and the surrounding areas.

“Few other mid-sized cities in Canada are confronted with such a problem,” he said.

“Lack of affordable, adequate and suitable housing in the valley is a major issue. It has made the news for the last decade or so.”

Solutions have been discussed in many Okanagan communities.

In Summerland, Mayor Janice Perrino said the municipality is addressing affordable housing though its zoning bylaw, which will be revisited.

The changes to the bylaw will allow subdivisions and smaller lots in order to provide more places to build.

“We’ve got to do as much as we can to get good subdivisions built,” she said.

Although Summerland’s population shrank by more than 250 people between 2009 and 2010, the costs of housing are still high in Summerland.

Few houses or townhouses in the community are available for less than $200,000, according to real estate listings for Summerland.

The forum will be held Feb. 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University Centre ballroom.

Those wishing to participate are asked to e-mail Tanya Fink at UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning at tanphoto@hotmail.com.