Council plans to look at what areas in Oak Bay may be appropriate for new affordable housing. (Black Press Media file photo)

Council plans to look at what areas in Oak Bay may be appropriate for new affordable housing. (Black Press Media file photo)

Affordable housing opportunities in Oak Bay under scrutiny

Council endorses research operation to determine what areas might be appropriate

A preliminary review of land use designations and planning areas in Oak Bay’s official community plan is underway after council tasked staff with determining what areas in Oak Bay may be appropriate for new affordable housing.

Coun. Andrew Appleton made a motion to seek the information during council’s June 13 meeting.

There was no discussion as it came in the waning seconds of a meeting already extended to 10:30 p.m. but the motion included an explanation. It cited the current housing crisis in the Capital Regional District where low vacancy and high rents make adequate housing unreachable for many, specifically working families, seniors and persons with disabilities.

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It also noted land values across the region are increasing faster than inflation, and the cost of land in Oak Bay may present a significant barrier to creating more affordable housing options. The motion also noted the 2020 housing needs report showed 27 per cent of renters in Oak Bay are in core housing need, 41 per cent of rental stock in the community is beyond 70 years old and likely approaching end of life.

Lastly, Appleton’s motion noted, the OCP identifies goals of increasing housing options as well as supporting innovative approaches to creating affordable and inclusive housing.

Earlier that evening council discussed points in its secondary suites policy expected to be approved by early fall. They also met June 15 as committee to discuss the infill housing strategy also underway.

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