Mayor Linda Buchanan’s push for affordable and mid-market housing in CNV got another boost with her fellow councillors supporting her latest proposal.
Council threw support behind her motion to ask staff to look at land owned by the city and find out how it could be used for creating affordable and mid-market housing.
Mayor Buchanan directed staff to come up with strategies to “steward” land and housing resources in the community to create more affordable housing. This could be done through a community land trust, a non-profit or community foundation.
“All of us have spoken to the challenges of housing in our community, and I don’t see it going away anytime soon. We have identified this as a priority because we want to remain an inclusive city,” she said.
The city could take a closer look at its own land and see what strategies can be used to create more affordable housing, she said. This would also protect the land from speculation and offer the possibility of long-term affordability, she added.
Mayor Buchanan’s latest initiative is a reiteration of her earlier motion where she called upon the council to support her idea for a housing solutions lab that could find an innovative policy breakthrough for housing problems.
In February, she sought and received council support for a “North Shore Housing Solutions Lab” that will identify opportunities and suggest actions to address the urgent need for housing facing low- and moderate-income earners.
That lab, she said, could follow the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project (INSTPP) template to bring neighbouring municipalities, the province and other stakeholders to create innovative housing solutions.
She was particularly concerned about lower-to-moderate income earners, especially those in public service, who have been priced out of the North Shore housing market.
“We need to look at innovate way to create policy and find different tools to support low- and moderate-income earners and people who work in our community, be it teachers, nurses, firefighters or teachers’ aides. Those who provide services should have the ability to live there,” she said.
The inability of those who work in the city to find suitable rentals or affordable housing only created an incomplete community, and led to lengthier commutes as well as congestion on roads she said. It was also becoming challenging for smaller and bigger businesses to attract or retain employees, she added.
Even though the City of North Vancouver had a housing action plan it created in 2016, there was hardly a policy or program that addressed the needs of moderate income earners in the city, she noted.