COMOX, B.C. – The Town of Comox is initiating a new strategy to help make housing more affordable within its boundaries.

During today’s committee of the whole meeting, Comox council members will be receiving a report from CAO Richard Kanigan on town initiatives regarding affordable housing.

The planner recommends:

  • That staff be directed to target a 15 percent housing amenity contribution
  • That staff be directed to seek opportunities to work with developers to create non-market affordable housing units within the town
  • That staff be directed to target the creation of rent geared to income non-market affordable housing units
  • That staff be directed target the creation of non-market affordable housing units for seniors and the disabled
  • That the town recommend that the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) amend its Development Cost Charge bylaws to exempt from required DCCs payments the construction or alteration of self-contained dwelling units in buildings in which each unit is not larger than 45 square metres.
  • That staff be directed to seek funds from the CVRD and other levels of government for the creation of non-market affordable housing units
  • That staff be directed to seek partnerships with non-profit housing organizations for the operation of the non-market affordable housing units.

On March 20, council asked that staff be instructed to prepare a report that included options for local government provisions on affordable housing, options for the use of rental zoning, and the impact that short-term rentals has on the supply of affordable housing, including the allowance for rentals of primary units.

The town’s affordable housing strategy defines ‘affordable’ housing costs as those that do not compromise a household’s ability to meet basic needs such as nutrition, clothing, and transportation.

Town councillor Alex Bissinger said there are efforts to add affordable housing stock across the Comox Valley.

“We’re partnering a lot with Courtenay, Cumberland, and organizations within the Comox Valley to see that, if the units aren’t being built specifically in Comox, that we’re actually contributing money for those projects in those neighbouring communities that are part of that valley community.”