A growing and aging population and a shortage of affordable rental and home ownership options are issues that a recent series of Housing Needs Assessments have identified as affecting the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s (CSRD) Electoral Areas B, D and F.
The areas covered by the reports include Rural Revelstoke, Falkland, Deep Creek and Salmon Valley and the North Shuswap. While each area had some unique issues and opportunities, there is a widespread challenge with a lack of available housing, especially for seniors, and limited types of residential accommodation.
Housing Needs Reports are now a provincial requirement for all jurisdictions in BC. The Board received the reports for Electoral Areas B, D and F at its March Board meeting. This completes the assessments for the entire CSRD area, meeting the legislative requirement. The Housing Needs Reports for Electoral Areas C and E were completed in 2020, and Town of Golden/Electoral Area A Housing Needs Report was completed in 2021.
Key findings specific to Electoral Area B (Rural Revelstoke) include:
- A modest population growth rate, with seniors being the fastest-growing demographic,
- High proportion of housing that is vacant or occupied by non-usual (temporary) residents,
- Lack of low-cost rental housing including low-income seniors housing,
- Rental costs higher than BC or CSRD average rental cost,
- 50 per cent of households not able to afford ownership of average single detached house,
- 32 per cent of households not able to afford average household rent,
- A lack of serviced land in rural areas,
- Inadequate housing available, especially for those in extreme housing need, which has more than doubled between 2006 and 2016.
Key findings specific to Electoral Area D (Falkland, Deep Creek and Salmon Valley) include:
- An increasing percentage of seniors,
- Most workers commuting outside of the Electoral Area for work,
- Lower average incomes than the CSRD or provincial average,
- A low number of unoccupied dwellings or those used for temporary occupancy,
- A high rate of home ownership,
- Lack of low cost and long-term rental housing,
- Growing need for affordable and seniors housing,
- Higher percentage of older dwellings and those requiring major repairs.
Key findings specific to Electoral Area F (North Shuswap) include:
- A sharp (30%) increase in population between 2016 and 2021, along with a significant increase in full-time residency of secondary homes,
- Very limited housing for seasonal residents and workers,
- A significant number of dwellings that are vacant or occupied by temporary residents,
- A limited supply of low income and small-unit housing,
- High levels of residents commuting out of the North Shuswap for work,
- A lack of seniors housing to allow for aging-in-place,
- Home construction and home values have risen dramatically in the last year,
- A high level of home ownership.
The full reports for each Electoral Area are available in the Reports section.
Information from these reports will be used to help guide both short-term and long-term housing strategies for the CSRD. This could include changes regarding secondary suites, lot sizes and density or building setbacks. Efforts will also be directed towards educational and promotional opportunities for the housing industry to help improve shortfalls.
Data and housing projections from these reports will be incorporated into any new or significantly amended Official Community Plans. A housing workshop is also being planned for the CSRD Board of Directors in 2022.
Other longer-term measures with budget implications will need to be considered as part of future CSRD budget and staff workplans.
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