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UBCM passes affordable housing resolutions

The Union of BC Municipalities passed two familiar housing-related resolutions within the first two hours of their policy session today.

The first, passed without related debate or discussion, will see the UBCM lobby the provincial government to develop a strategy that utilizes the use of pine beetle affected timber in the construction of homes throughout the BC, and demands that BC mills be utilized as part of the strategy to reduce BC’s housing shortage.

The UBCM has passed similar resolutions to support the use of BC wood for construction of homes, and specifically pine beetle affected timber, since 1999 and 2002 respectively. This resolution, however, was the first to link the use of BC lumber specifically to the province’s housing strategy and affordable housing crisis.

The second resolution was put forward by the City of Vancouver, and also submitted and endorsed by Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond Port Moody, and New Westminster. It called for the UBCM to urge the provincial and federal government to develop a National Affordable Housing Strategy that provides necessary long-term funding to support the construction of affordable housing across the province.

The resolution was originally put into a much later part of the agenda, because the UBCM has passed similar resolutions enough times in the past that it is considered UBCM standing policy. However, Vancouver Councillor Ellen Woodsworth requested the resolution be addressed sooner due to the urgency of the housing crisis is the province, and the membership voted to bring the item forward in the agenda.

Members from Victoria, Ladysmith, Kelowna, Columbia Shushwap, and other areas spoke in support, but the resolution received criticism from Allan Patton, Director of Area-C, Rural Oliver, Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen.

“This is a feel-good resolution that doesn’t make me feel good and that’s because the development industry is not included in the affordable housing planning strategy,” he said.

“We shouldn’t be supporting a resolution that only includes taxpayer funding for affordable housing.”

After Patton spoke, the resolution passed without further discussion.

Christine McLaren reports for The Tyee.

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