Lack of housing and housing diversity in Ashcroft, says report

Details from the April 27 Ashcroft council meeting

Housing Needs Assessment

There’s a lack of housing and poor diversity in housing stock in terms of type and age in Ashcroft, according to the Village of Ashcroft 2019 Housing Needs Assessment Report, approved by council on April 27.

That’s leading to difficulties for people in Ashcroft looking to change homes, either to upgrade or to downsize. It’s making it challenging for prospective residents to purchase or rent adequate or desirable housing.

It’s also presenting a challenge for businesses in hiring new employees, who may not be willing to relocate if they have difficulty in finding appropriate accommodations, according to the report.

“Based on historical growth trends, households in Ashcroft are anticipated to continue to decline from 2020 to 2025,” the study notes. “However, if land development constraints were lessened and the population continues to grow at a proportional rate to growth in the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, then it is projected that Ashcroft would see a need for 26 units, mainly two-bedroom units, from 2020 to 2025.”

That’s expected to pose a particular challenge for lone parents and individuals, according to the report. It also showed much of the local housing stock is older, with 70 per cent having been built before 1981. Only one per cent was built between 2011 and 2016.

In a survey stakeholders suggested, among other solutions, making zoning more flexible and encouraging people with large homes to rent rooms or suites.

Coun. Deb Tuohey noted that the study was very thorough and that she was quite pleased with it, adding that they can get a task force going as suggested in the report.

Mayor Barbara Roden says it was not surprising, but interesting to get confirmation on what they’d heard anecdotally, specifically surrounding seniors looking to downsize.

The study was funded with a $25,000 grant from the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT).

COVID-19 recovery committee

Council voted to establish a Select Committee of council to support economic development and COVID-19 recovery.

Roden and councillor Marilyn Anderson were selected as representatives from council. They’ll seek up to four members from the business community and up to four not-for-profit members, as well as a representative from Community Futures Sun Country and the Village of Ashcroft Economic Development contracted agent.

Coun. Nadine Davenport was set as the alternate for council.

Childcare and other items

Council received a letter noting that School District No. 74 and the Ashcroft Early Learning Program are interested in forming a partnership to expand the availability of childcare in the area to offer full- and part-time childcare, for which council agreed to submit a letter of support.

They also received a letter asking to share a campaign by Operation Lifesaver Canada in relation to a man being hit by a train in Ashcroft on March 6.

Council also received a letter from NDIT stating that an application for $50,000 to support an intern was approved.

The revised Five-Year Financial Plan (bylaw 835) discussed at the last council meeting was given first, second, and third reading, as was bylaw 836.

Questions

The gallery asked why there was a substantial increase in parcel tax in the five-year financial plan for 2022, which Roden said was anticipated to pay the carrying cost for the debt on the water treatment plant. Roden said an increase in fees and services in 2021 is due to the last year of sewer increases, in response to another question.

The aging demographics, as reported in the Housing Needs Assessment Report, are not reflected in the five-year plan, but council has discussed adopting age-friendly initiatives with staff, said Roden.

The next Village of Ashcroft council meeting is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. on Monday, May 11. All council meeting agendas and minutes can be found on the Village’s website at https://ashcroftbc.ca/.



editorial@accjournal.ca

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