More communities including the Tsawwassen First Nation will be following the City of Delta in formulating new housing strategies.
The provincial government this week announced it is allocating nearly $1 million to help another 26 communities assess and report on local housing needs.
“Local governments and First Nations play a critical role in addressing the housing crisis, and the impacts of COVID-19 on people and communities have reinforced just how important it is to support them in their efforts,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs, in a news release. “This funding will help communities determine exactly what kind of housing people need and will support healthy and resilient communities across B.C. well into the future.”
The province notes the latest funding recipients are from the third intake of the Housing Needs Report Program, administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
In 2018, the province committed $5 million over three years to help local governments, including the City of Delta, collect and analyze housing-related data from their communities.
Successful applicants receive 50 per cent of the grant funding once approved and the remaining 50 per cent once they complete their final reporting to UBCM.
The province notes it expanded the program eligibility to B.C.’s eight Treaty First Nations and the Tsawwassen First Nation is one of the successful applicants from the third intake. The TFN will receive funding to develop a housing needs report.
After signing a historic urban treaty more than a decade ago, housing developments are now well underway on both sides of Highway 17 at the TFN.
The subdivisions springing up include the Tsawwassen Shores development by Aquilini Development, while Onni Group and Mosaic also plan to build a range of homes.
The TFN land use plan approved by members has more than 2,800 homes to be built over the next decade or so with Tsawwassen Shores comprising 850 of those units.
About 8,000 new non-member residents are expected to eventually call the TFN home.
In a previous interview, TFN Chief Ken Baird said many of the First Nation’s members don't reside at the Tsawwassen Lands, something he hopes will eventually change with new housing to encourage more members to come home.
According to the TFN’s latest strategic plan, one of the First Nation’s goals is creating a home for TFN members, including a variety of housing types and ownership options suited to the needs of all members.
The plan is to have a comprehensive housing plan that takes advantage of the TFN’s treaty powers to prioritize member needs and pursue affordable ownership options, particularly for elders, young families and off-lands members.
The objectives also includes securing funding to create a new supply of apartment housing across the range of incomes and achieving a clear implementation plan for a Community Housing Area.
Meanwhile, as far as what’s happening in the City of Delta, a draft housing strategy is to be presented to council in the coming weeks.
The city has already undertaken community consultation to help formulate a housing needs assessment, which was completed last year, and further consultation will be held on the draft strategy after it is presented.