News

Please join our housing discussion – Monday, May 30, 2022!

May 25, 2022
Council Column

Quesnel, like most communities these days, is facing a significant housing challenge. This challenge is across all domains: affordable, seniors, supportive, rental, single-family residential, and high-end market housing (both for purchase and rental). Council has been working to try to address this challenge for some time, but, of course, the City does not directly build housing units, all we can do is establish a framework to make our community attractive to developers (including BC Housing) in an effort to get shovels in the ground and new housing units built as soon as possible.

Council’s partnership with BC Housing has attracted multiple developments to date, including the new supportive and affordable multi-unit housing project currently under construction on Front Street. We’re now working with BC Housing on an additional affordable and supportive housing project for the City that we hope will also involve a relocation and upgrade of the existing shelter facility.

The City, at Council’s direction, has established a significant housing incentive package for developers who are willing to meet the City’s desire to see modern, energy-efficient, affordable and accessible housing built in the City. More information about these incentives can be found here: www.quesnel.ca/building-development/housing-initiatives 

We’re also making City properties available to developers. Two recent ‘Requests for Proposals’ for housing developments on city-owned properties on Kinchant Street and Neighbour Road are now in the vetting and due diligence phase and we hope to make announcements soon about the successful proponents of these multi-unit projects. 

However, the City of Quesnel does not have a lot of development-ready property (either public or private) at the scale we will need for the housing demands we’re facing both now and in the near future, when an estimated thousand new jobs will be created through a number of projects we’ve been coordinating with over the past few years. That’s why it’s vital that we support more “Accessory Dwelling Units” (ADUs) being built as soon as possible.

ADUs are simply additional housing units (secondary suites, carriage houses, and secondary dwellings) that are added to existing single-family residential properties. This is one of the fastest, most efficient and effective ways to add more housing capacity in the City, as it takes advantage of our existing infrastructure on land that is already used for housing. The ability to quickly increase our housing options in the City is significant if we can assist and incent homeowners to add an ADU to their property.  

In order to facilitate the building of ADUs, the City successfully applied for a Northern Development Trust grant to create designs for ADUs in order to eliminate the design costs for homeowners who are interested in building one of these units on their property. The grant funded project will see the City create two carriage house designs (a secondary dwelling built using an existing structure such as a garage), two secondary dwelling designs (a free-standing, detached unit), and a secondary dwelling that will get as close as possible to a passive house design. The grant will also fund stakeholder engagement on this design process and upgrades to the City’s website to enable interested homeowners to more easily access information about ADUs. These plans are also available to Cariboo Regional District residents in the North Cariboo Regional District building inspection area.

Please join us for a virtual community meeting at 6 pm on Monday, May 30 to review the draft ADU design plans that the technical consultants have created based on both initial City and community feedback. This is your opportunity to develop these “shovel-ready” designs for your property so you can assist us to meet our housing challenge by creating new, modern and innovative housing on your property. Register for this event here: www.letsconnectquesnel.ca/adus.

Mayor Bob Simpson
 

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