'Do we have the capacity?': Peachland council questions if local infrastructure can keep up with housing push

'Do we have the capacity?'

A report that calls on Peachland to increase housing construction sparked concerns about whether the municipality’s infrastructure can handle the load.

The Peachland Housing Needs Assessment says that while the housing supply has been steadily increasing, more must be built at a faster rate to accommodate projected growth.

By 2026, Peachland will need an additional 294 units to meet projected housing needs, said the report, which was presented to council on Tuesday. Based on building permit data, Peachland is projected to come up 60 units short. By 2036, Peachland will need an additional 766 units but will come up 211 short under current building rates.

The report, mandated by the provincial government, provides data Peachland will need to develop a housing action plan, council heard. Peachland will need a plan to qualify for provincial and federal housing funds.

“Do we have the capacity in our infrastructure to absorb this,” asked Coun. Terry Condon.

“Everything is based on our official community plan,” responded administrator Joe Creron. “We will be updating our community plan.”

But Creron said Condon had a point: “If you take a couple lots and you change them into four units each, that’s not a big deal, but if a whole neighbourhood starts to change over, then it might be a big deal.”

“Over the course of five, 10, 15 years, this is going to fundamentally change the structure of neighbourhoods,” Condon answered back.

“Peachland maybe 50 or 100 years from now may be looking very different than it does today,” replied Creron.

Condon criticized the province’s approach to housing. The government is demanding solutions before the all the facts are in.

“I’m scared for the future,” he said.

Coun. Randey Brophy also had concerns about infrastructure.

“The land that’s cheapest is the land that has the least infrastructure, Princeton, up in that area, where 40 per cent of the homes don’t have sewer,” he said.

Coun. Rick Ingram noted geography is a problem.

“So much of Peachland is a view lot and view lots are never going to be attainable,” he said.

Mayor Patrick Van Minsel noted that later in the meeting council was slated to consider a development policy that puts a priority on attainable and affordable housing and takes high-end single-family homes off the list.

The policy was approved. It lists attainable and affordable housing as top priorities for the planning and development department, followed by downtown revitalization, development at the old Ponderosa golf course site and a protective services building. Some councillors said a day care should be added to the list.

The report also said:

  • Housing is unaffordable for many families. Approximately 19.1 per cent (515) of Peachland households spent 30 per cent or more of their income on shelter costs in 2021.
  • As of 2021, 69 per cent of the housing base was single-detached housing. A variety of housing options including multi-unit developments will help attract young families.
  • According to the 2021 census, there were 5,789 people living in Peachland. That’s forecast to grow to 6,385 by 2026 and 7,343 by 2036.
  • The average home sale price was $869,848 in 2022. There were 260 sales, which is approximately 10 per cent of the housing stock.
  • Airdna, an online analytics platform, estimated there are about 195 active short-term rental properties as of August.
  • Peachland will see a steady growth in the 0-14 and 15-24 age groups. The proportion of residents aged 55 to 64 is expected to decline while the percentage of seniors will increase.
  • The number of households is projected to increase by 294 from 2021 to 2026, reaching 2,959; and by 766 households in 15 years.
  • Peachland needs more affordable home ownership and rental housing options. Rental and home ownership prices have been increasing at a rate that is unsustainable for many.

Some councillors asked whether new provincial short-term rental legislation will affect the conclusions. The answer basically was more details about the province’s plans are needed.

Council received the report, prepared by Nancy Henderson of Urban Systems. Action will come later.

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