Mike Schroeder

Mike Schroeder

White Rock council pushed on affordable-housing strategy

Peninsula Homeless to Housing Task Force asking for update

Peninsula advocates for affordable housing have asked the city to revisit a strategy aimed to target the growing needs of low-income residents in the community.

Mike Schroeder, of the Peninsula Homeless to Housing Task Force, spoke to White Rock council last week on the increasing need for affordable housing in Metro Vancouver.

In 2010, PH2H presented a draft of an affordable-housing strategy that was accepted, by council, which then appointed a committee and hired a consultant to develop the draft strategy.

However, it was never finalized and approved by subsequent councils.

In the strategy, estimated numbers from 2009-2018 showed that 600 rental units would be needed in White Rock. Of that number, 200 would need to be low-income, 300 moderate income and 100 at market level.

During his Feb. 16 presentation, Schroeder noted the city is approaching the halfway mark of the timeline, and he requested that the city update the task force on how much of the estimated need has been met and reiterated the need to  update, finalize and implement the draft affordable-housing strategy.

Schroeder also highlighted three other proposals for council: complete a progress report on the city’s undertakings to the group, which was originally outlined in a Dec. 24, 2012 letter from Mayor Wayne Baldwin to PH2H; designate PH2H as a stakeholder group, including official representation on a re-activated social-planning committee and input into community consultations and policy development; and to designate a liaison as a councillor and/or senior staff member to liaise with PH2H.

In the 2012 letter to PH2H, Baldwin notes that due to the release of the 2011 census data in the fall of 2012, staff had not yet completely reviewed and compared with previous years’ census data.

“In the meantime, staff has been preparing new draft policies to implement the Town Centre Urban Design Plan, preparing new draft density bonus and community amenity contribution policies, and a new zoning bylaw,” Baldwin writes. “These new policies and zoning bylaw take into consideration the important issues you raise in your letter.”

Coun. Lynne Sinclair, who is a member of the six-person Affordable Housing Working Group, moved to have a progress report on the affordable housing strategy, and that the report be implemented into the Official Community Plan review.

“I’m very proud to sit on this task force,” Sinclair said. “I want to ask where we are with this affordable housing strategy, and if the best thing to do is to move a motion to actually finalize the updated (version) and whether it should be implemented into our OCP process.”

Director of planning and development services Karen Cooper, who is heading the update of the OCP, told council she will include the affordable-housing strategy in the review process and volunteered to act as the liaison that PH2H had suggested.