A Vancouver-based consulting company will be doing a study on housing capacity and gaps in the Central North Cariboo.
Williams Lake city council approved awarding the $78,500 contract at its Tuesday, June 30.
Director of planning and development Hasib Nadvi said the project will be fully funded by the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) and Northern Development Initiative Trust, noting the City will work in conjunction with the CRD on the project.
As of April 2019, the province requires all local governments to collect data, analyze trends, and present reports on current housing needs, which prompted the need for the study, Nadvi said.
The project will encompass Williams Lake and CRD electoral Areas D, E, F, K, and J (Attachment A). The extent broadly encompasses Anahim Lake to the west, Likely/Horsefly to the east, McLeese Lake to the north and 150 Mile to the south.
During the council meeting, Coun. Scott Nelson voted against awarding the contract, arguing the City has ‘studied itself to death,’ and another study is an ‘absolute waste of money.’
“We know that there’s a crisis out there,” Nelson said. “The information is already there. What we need is money from the federal and provincial governments to put people into homes, low income, and people with disabilities.”
Coun. Sheila Boehm said she agreed with some of the things Nelson was saying, but added the study is required by government.
“I’m also not against sending a letter to the government with Coun. Nelson’s concerns.”
Mayor Walt Cobb said when Glen Arbor got plans drawn for a second phase, the board was told it would get no funding from BC Housing until the housing study was updated.
“It was done in 2014, it’s not that old and we have a waiting list, but we were told they will not fund it unless we had the study,” Cobb said.
Coun. Craig Smith, who said he agreed 100 per cent with Nelson, it’s like being between a rock and a hard place.
“We have to spend $80,000, and it has to be for the entire area [region] and I think with the Cariboo Regional District they are casting a wider net. It’s not coming out of the City’s coffers, but it is coming out of taxpayers.”
During the project, there will be extensive public consultation with residents, stakeholders such as the CRD, First Nations, BC Housing and non-profit groups, Nadvi noted in his report to council.