Issues of housing affordability on the Saanich Peninsula have not gone anywhere and a new group looking for solutions might have the best chance of seeing results.
Spearheaded by MP Elizabeth May in 2013, a series of housing roundtable meetings has led to the creation of an interim body tasked with hitting up stakeholders for support — and presumably money, eventually — in establishing a body to push the development community for 30 new units of affordable housing.
That’s affordable in the sub-$400,000 range for people who work on the Peninsula in local industry to area retail shops.
To reach that lofty goal, the group will require participation from industry, the business community, regional government and more — essentially the sources of the demand for more affordable housing.
Basing their model on a successful one in Whistler, B.C., the Peninsula group would, in a nutshell, seek out approximately $45,000 to create a formal organization — and then lobby developers for the planning and even construction of 10 new units in each of the first three quarters of the group’s existence.
From there, they would develop long-term plans to sustain the production of additional workforce units.
May says the key to success is defining affordability. She means it in regards to what workers can afford to pay for a new home. It could also apply to whether employers feel it’s up to them to afford to participate.
Essentially what May and the interim group is asking, is if employers, local governments and others will put their money where their mouth is to support this project.
That is the key, in the end, to open any new doors for the local workforce.