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Courtenay focusing on affordable housing for 2020 virtual UBCM conference

With the annual Union of B.C Municipalities conference underway across the province, Courtenay has submitted its requests. 

Five items were on the city’s agenda to submit to the conference, and one of the most important was affordable and co-op housing initiatives in the Comox Valley. 

Courtenay Councillor Doug Hillian says the city had the chance to speak with representatives from both the province and BC Housing ahead of the virtual UBCM conference, to try and address some of the most pressing issues.

“We presented the challenges we’re having with both affordable and supportive housing in the community. We asked that the province provide more of those and that they mandate outreach services and skilled staff as components of any housing development that are built, which related to the Junction presentation we heard earlier tonight,” explained Hillian. 

“We also requested a framework of affordable and co-op housing initiatives at the municipal level and I think what we stressed to the minister while we have stepped forward and provided land in a couple of cases, our ability to do that is limited and we really need the senior governments to step up and take the lead in this regard.”

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Councillor Hillian says the discussion was good but added that the provincial representative recommended that the city continue to work with BC Housing to combat housing needs in the valley.

“I think in response the minister certainly encouraged us to continue to work with BC housing. She indicated that the initiatives they have for funding are ongoing and I believe we will be meeting with BC housing officials in the near future to explore the possibilities for further work in this regard.”

Some of the city’s other requests for the UBCM included:

  • That the provincial government return a portion of its Property Transfer Tax, Provincial Sales Tax, and Liquor Tax revenues to local governments for reinvestment in municipal infrastructure, solid waste services, policing, and affordable housing and homelessness initiatives.
  • That the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the City of Courtenay continue to collaborate and explore funding opportunities on the following key capital projects: Hwy 19A (Bypass) road improvements and flood mitigation, Ryan Rd sidewalk improvements, Ryan Road widening and multi-use bike/pedestrian path and options for an east/west connector, and the pedestrian crossing on Cliffe Avenue between 19th and 26th Streets 
  • Asking the Province to:  Review and provide input into the City of Courtenay’s Official Community Plan update process  Explore options to work with the City of Courtenay on potential future shared initiatives and funding opportunities 

The Union of B.C Municipalities Conference is held every year to allow communities across the province to share what concerns they have and to come together, share their experiences and take a united position.

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This year because of COVID-19, the conference was held virtually and it will officially wrap up tomorrow. 

More information on what Courtenay submitted to the UBCM, can be found in the council agenda from Monday on the City of Courtenay’s website

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