Rental housing task force on the way

White Rock council votes to endorse creation of committee to assist planning.

White Rock is creating a rental housing task force.

White Rock is creating a rental housing task force.

The City of White Rock is creating a Rental Housing Task Force to help develop a housing strategy in conjunction with the city’s Official Community Plan review.

The governance and legislation committee voted unanimously to endorse terms of reference for the task force Monday, following a presentation from director of planning and development services Karen Cooper, who told council members the issue of rental housing has played a big role in the OCP review so far.

“It has come up as one of the most common issues raised in our Official Community Plan review process,” Cooper said. “I think it would be helpful as we go into the next phase of the review to get some input from the citizens.”

Mayor Wayne Baldwin said the city has a “fair amount” of aging rental units, many of which are “nearing the end of their useful life.”

Citing safety concerns including lack of sprinkler systems in older buildings, Baldwin said such scenarios present an opportunity for developers to rebuild into for-purchase units.

“The people who are renting would have no way of buying into a condominium project,” Baldwin said. “I think we really have to be prepared… it hasn’t happened yet, but it will.”

The task force is to comprise seven members – plus two council liaisons – and Cooper said representatives from the Peninsula Housing and Homelessness committee, the Seniors Housing Committee and the White Rock Economic Development Committee will be invited to take part.