Council is being asked to approve an action plan that could see the addition of more than 400 housing units over three years to Penticton, on top of normal construction.
The action plan is part of an application to the federal government’s $4 billion Housing Accelerator Fund.
“The potential for federal funding provides Penticton with an opportunity to be innovative as we work towards achieving Council’s priority of a livable and accessible community,” says Blake Laven, the City’s director of development services. “The proposed action plan lays out seven initiatives that would allow us to provide the right mix of housing to meet our housing needs as our population grows and as our demographics shift. We know the demand is there and these initiatives would allow us to direct and encourage construction in a planned and sustainable manner.”
The seven initiatives are:
- Creation of a residential team to direct policy changes
- Utilizing City land and new civic facilities
- Accelerate new neighbourhood growth
- Parking requirement reduction pilot
- Pre-approved ‘missing middle’ plans
- Remove/revise density and height restrictions
- Pre-zone strategic areas
“Our housing needs assessment and population growth trends clearly indicate the need for more construction and the federal program would see Penticton eligible for over $10-million in grants to support that effort,” says Laven. “The federal funds are way to encourage significant investment in the community and the action plan is designed to take advantage of the opportunity and create affordable and attainable housing”
As part of the development of the action plan, the City commissioned a new housing needs assessment report. The needs assessment report, the first done for the City since 2017, shows the recent growth trends to continue.
The report estimates Penticton will grow at a rate of 1.1 per cent per year under a low growth scenario and 1.8 per cent a year under a high growth scenario. To meet the minimum growth required, Penticton will need to add 240 new housing units a year. The report envisions a minimum Penticton population of over 40,000 by 2030.
The Housing Needs Assessment will also be presented to Council at the August 1 meeting.
The recommendations were endorsed by the OCP Housing Task Force. Details of the actions are available in the Council Report as part of the August 1 agenda package.