Williams Lake is the first community in the northern B.C. region to capitalize on a program aimed at densifying construction in an already tight housing market.
Wednesday, local developer 3Gen Construction received a reimbursement for building costs associated with a new multi-family development at the Hamel Road complex in Williams Lake.
The Housing Incentive Program, launched by Northern Development Initiative Trust in 2019, provides the reimbursement to the developer once an occupancy permit has been issued and provides for $10,000 per door. The minimum project size is a four-unit development, to a maximum of $200,000 in rebates available.
“This program helped us with the decision to take on the build, and the $10,000 a door incentive tipped the scales for us to go for it,” said Tyler Boucher, co-owner of 3Gen Construction.
“It also allowed us to keep our crews employed all last winter and into the spring, and there [will be] four new homeowners in town, so the benefits to our community reach beyond our company and our bottom line.”
Three of the homes have already been sold, Boucher said, while the fourth has an offer pending.
NDIT’s CEO Joel McKay said he’s pleased to see the uptake on the program for smaller communities like Williams Lake.
“It is good to see this program is workign and making a difference in smaller communities where making the case for density is harder to do,” McKay said.
“The housing crisis in the north has far-reaching impacts to our local economies, and the intent of this program is to help to increase the stock that is available, by incentifying developers to look at projects through the lens of density design.”
Beth Veenkamp, economic development officer with the City of Williams Lake, said programs like this give more tools in the kit when working with the development community.
“We are taking a very proactive approach to increasing our available housing in Williams Lake, and being able to provide informaiton on a range of incentives available to developers helps to move ideas into reality,” Veenkamp said.
Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb was on hand Wednesday to present the $40,000 rebate cheque to Boucher and said he’s thrilled Williams Lake is the first northern community to successfully utilize this program.
“We are serious about getting housing development happening, and are putting a lot of effort into creating the conditions necessary for developers to join us in creating solutions,” Cobb said.
“There’s always going to be a good market for single-family housing, but we are really focused on how to maximize the little land that we have available in the city to house as many people as possible. This program from NDIT is a really good reason for developers to look at projects a little differently than they are used to, with density in mind.”
For more on the range of incentives available to developers contact the City’s Economic Development Office.