More affordable housing units are needed not just in Vernon, but all neighbouring jurisdictions and Vernon says it’s time for Coldstream to get on board. (Morning Star file photo)

More affordable housing units are needed not just in Vernon, but all neighbouring jurisdictions and Vernon says it’s time for Coldstream to get on board. (Morning Star file photo)

Okanagan community called out for lack of rental housing

Vernon urging its neighbour to “step up to the plate” and allow more affordable places to lives

A need for affordable housing has Vernon looking to one neighbour in particular who has failed to build such homes in a long time.

“Since 2016, 94 per cent of Coldstream’s housing starts have been single-family detached, while smaller multi-family dwelling and rental units would help provide affordable and attainable options for seniors downsizing, renters and households looking to move into homeownership,” Vernon Coun. Akbal Mund’s motion reads.

“They are the one district who isn’t on board with building affordable homes. They just don’t want to do it,” Mund said at the Feb. 22 Vernon council meeting.

The rest of Vernon council agreed and is requesting that Coldstream takes steps towards the provision of more diverse housing types to address affordability gaps, identified in a recent regional housing needs assessment.

READ MORE: Finding a home ‘impossible’ in Vernon

“Now that we have the housing needs assessment it clearly shows us where we’re lagging, and it’s regionally,” Coun. Kari Gares said. “We all need to step up to the plate.”

Mayor Victor Cumming has spoken with neighbouring Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick about the issue and has suggests allowing more carriage homes, basement suites and smaller townhomes.

“We’ve found it happening on our side of Middleton Mountain but not on their side of Middleton Mountain,” Cumming said of recent townhome projects.

Garlick said steps have already been taken to provide a zone to legalize secondary suites and the district is working on a process to allow for carriage houses.

There is also land already zoned for multi-family on Middleton and on Highway 6 but development has yet to proceed there. And Coldstream is currently looking at two developments, inclduing a 170-unit complex of smaller homes as well as semi-detached and those with secondary suites.

“Most people in the community are looking for what is already provided but we are looking at how to provide some variety without creating push back from many residents who are happy with what they have,” Garlick said.

He points to the conclusion of the report (page 85), which reads: “With a low existing level of core need and as a relatively higher cost community, there is not necessarily a need for assisted or subsidized housing, although there is demand for some market priced smaller homes to enable empty nesters and singles to downsize and remain in Coldstream. Those who experience affordability issues tend to reside in Vernon where more diverse housing forms exist.”

An application has also been forwarded to remove Coldstream Meadows from the Agricutural Land Reserve, in hopes that the new owner is successful in an Interior Health bid for beds, “which will make the development more viable,” Garlick said.

According to the housing assessment, Coldstream’s rate of regional growth is expected to double from 2016 to 2026, compared to 2011-2016.

Coldstream also has the highest median home price in the North Okanagan ($501,000) as of June 2020, and as the report from that month notes, “while the median renter incomes are higher than in all other communities ($62,000), only 10 per cent of existing homes in Coldstream are in the purchase price range that would be affordable to the median income renter household.”

Garlick said the district will be addressing affordable housing at a future council meeting.

READ MORE: Vernon councillor urges Coldstream to increase affordable housing projects


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

affordable housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

The Habitat for Humanity ReStore in the former Kal Tire location in Salmon Arm now has its own truck as well as ‘opening soon’ signs on the building. (Photo contributed)
Salmon Arm ReStore looking for volunteers as setup to begin

Stocking shelves expected to start within two weeks, soft opening in April

Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Ranchero Deep Creek firefighters respond to a blaze involving two adjacent structures at a property off of Deep Creek Road on Sunday, Feb. 21. The buildings were believed to have been used as part of a cannabis growing operation, and RCMP are investigating. (Sean Coubrough/CSRD photo)
Shuswap firefighters responding to structure blaze find cannabis grow operation

RCMP investigating, attempting to track down owner of property

Fire crews are on scene in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue SE at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24 as smoke billows from a residential building. Motorists are advised to avoid the area. (Jim Elliot - Salmon Arm Observer)
Salmon Arm firefighters respond to smoke in a building on Fourth Avenue SE

Crews were called to the scene at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24

The District of Sicamous announced plans to purchase and manage the Sicamous Medical Centre on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Colleen Anderson and Malcolm Makayev have been overseeing this and other health matters on behalf of the district’s council. (Jim Elliot-Eagle Valley News)
Sicamous to purchase retiring doctor’s business, take over management

Move intended to attract new doctors by allowing them to focus on patient care

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: The freedom to read

Books have been challenged many times in the past

The dam at Thirsk Lake, west of Summerland, was expanded in 2007. A crack has now been discovered where the old and new portions of the dam meet. (Summerland Review file photo)
Crack at Thirsk Dam to be examined

Reservoir west of Summerland was expanded in 2007

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read