White Rock Council is considering moving the acquisition of affordable housing property higher on its agenda.
At Monday night’s (Dec. 13) meeting council received a staff report recommending giving first three readings to an amendment to the Financial Plan Bylaw which would provide $4 million for acquisition of affordable-housing property from 2021 on.
White Rock’s Housing Needs study, presented to council on Nov. 22, has identified affordable housing as a top city priority.
The money in question, funded from the the Affordable Housing Reserve, has previously been allotted to 2025.
However, as acting financial services director Shannon Johnston pointed out to council, a housekeeping move is needed if it plans to move such a purchase ahead of the original schedule.
“In order to have funding available to purchase a property for affordable housing – if a suitable property becomes available – it is necessary to have an asset improvement project in the financial plan for this purpose,” Johnston explained.
“The current financial plan has a transfer from the Community Amenity Contribution Reserve to the Affordable Housing Reserve in 2021 and a property purchase in 2025,” she noted.
“If this amendment is not done, council would not be able to purchase a property until 2025.”
The amendment would also reallocate money earmarked for improvements to Centennial Arena, including exterior replacement, roof replacement and shop roof replacement – originally budgeted as a $1.491 million expenditure stretching from 2021 to 2023.
“The funding required is now $1.325 million, with more funding required (for) 2022,” Johnston said, adding that the amendment is necessary so that a contract for roofing and cladding renewals, approved by council on Monday, can be signed.