Kelowna's mayor expects more discussions around provincial housing legislation

Housing talks to continue

Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas believes the province is open to the possibility of making some changes to housing-related legislation introduced over the past few months.

However, speaking during a one-on-one interview, Dyas doesn't believe anything is imminent.

"I believe a lot of the legislation will stay intact. There is a short period of time before the province goes into a provincial election so I believe everything will stay intact until after the election," said Dyas.

"Then there will be further discussions around the concerns communities are having."

For the City of Kelowna, those concerns center around the effect infill housing could have on the heritage conservation area and how short-term rental legislation could affect tourism.

Dyas says he brought up those concerns with provincial Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon when he was in town last week to open the STEP Place tiny home site.

Dyas described the minister as very attentive and very understanding during those discussions.

Speaking on legislation limiting short-term rentals, Dyas says it has already had an affect with more long-term rentals becoming available in the market.

"There has also been an element of change on pricing with respect to a lot of areas," he said.

"Some of it is working but they are also realizing communities are tourism-oriented like this community and others, and there needs to be further discussions on how we can amend those and change that."

The heritage area is more complex since it encompasses both the heritage conservation area and KGH which has been designated a transit oriented area.

"The item that comes about with the transit oriented area being around the hospital is there are a lot of people that work within that hospital area so recognizing that, and to save people from commuting, greater densification around the hospital area would be welcome," said Dyas.

"The affect on that is that we also want to be cautious on what we are doing in the heritage area."

It's a double-edged sword says Dyas, with the need to densify areas where people work while at the same time preserving and protecting the heritage area.

"It's striking a balance somewhere in between," he said.

"So yes, we stated how important that is to the community. I know there will be more discussions about it but I don't think anything will change substantially before the election."

More Kelowna News