UBCM delegates vote down Penticton resolution requesting provincial funding for land investments

Housing resolution no-go

Union of B.C. Municipalities delegates have voted down a resolution from the City of Penticton suggesting the province financially match local government donations of land used for affordable housing.

The resolution suggested UBCM ask the province to establish a model which would provide funding equal or greater in value to any donated land a local government contributes for affordable or attainable housing projects.

The resolution was up for debate at the UBCM conference on Thursday.

“We all have a precious amount of land in our communities,” said Penticton Coun. Helena Konanz.

"If we're going to commit that land to attainable housing, which we all know we need to do, we need to have a buy-in and help from the province.”

A speaker from the town of Smithers supported the resolution, saying his community has a limited amount of town-owned land.

“Every time the provincial government comes to us asking us for help with housing, or helping us with projects, we give our land away,” he said.

“If we want to continue to build affordable housing in our community, we are now looking at having to have our local taxpayers buy the land when, in fact, there’s quite a bit of Crown land in town.”

However, Powell River Coun. Trina Isakson said while she supported the spirit of the resolution, she wouldn't vote in favour of adopting it, acknowledging it may contribute to an inequity between communities.

“I come from a community that happens to have a lot of land that is city owned, but many communities don’t,” Isakson said.

“I do appreciate the spirit and the intent to develop more housing. I believe that this might reinforce inequities in the types of assets that smaller communities in particular have.”

The majority of local government representatives voted to defeat the motion.

Penticton sent a total of six councillors and two staff to the conference in Vancouver on behalf of the city, at a cost of $25,000 to city coffers. Presenting this resolution was one of their stated goals ahead of the trip, along with pushing the provincial government to provide more resources to municipalities for public safety initiatives.

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