Two development applications and a bylaw change represent a shift in housing for Summerland.
The development applications are for a 14-unit townhouse development proposed for Elliott Street and a nine-unit housing project proposed for Kelly Avenue.
The bylaw change would expand the properties where carriage houses or secondary suites could be included.
The development applications and the bylaw change begin to address the need for affordable housing in Summerland.
For years, the community has discussed the cost of housing, but prices have continued to rise.
The last figures from B.C. Assessment show a typical house in Summerland has a value of $505,600, an increase of 11.9 per cent over last year’s figures. Housing prices here are among the highest anywhere in the Okanagan.
If approved, the two development applications would both provide smaller units than the majority of single family residential houses in Summerland.
In addition, the proposed units in the Kelly Avenue development would include secondary suites, again providing lower-cost housing opportunities.
And if the bylaw change results in the creation of more secondary suites and carriage houses, the result also would benefit those in search of lower cost housing.
Housing is a complex problem and it does not have a simple solution. Addressing housing needs will require a multi-faceted approach.
The cost of housing is affecting communities throughout the province and across Canada. It is not only Summerland’s problem.
However, addressing the cost of housing requires solutions from each community affected.
The development proposals and the bylaw change before Summerland council may provide partial solutions for what is a very complex problem. But they will not be enough. More work is still needed to address the issue of housing in Summerland.