The Strathcona Regional District will be applying for funding to do housing needs reports for its electoral areas, but not all directors think this is the right way to go.
Based on provincial legislation from 2019, all municipalities and regional districts in the province need to do these assessments. The Union of BC Municipalities has a grant program to help cover the costs of doing these reports, the application for which came across the regional district’s board table this week.
Though it is mandated by the provincial law, Area D director Brenda Leigh voted against the motion, saying: “I think the provincial government has got things wrong.”
“I think the problem is mental health treatment and not just supplying housing to people. I don’t agree with just handing out monies through local government to deal with problems that are mis-prioritized.”
Quadra Island director Jim Abram said that the goal of the housing needs reports goes beyond homelessness.
“We’re asking for housing needs reports for the four electoral areas. It could include anything.”
The regional district applied for $15,000 for each of its electoral areas, for a total of $60,000. The municipalities apart from Gold River have applied for their own grants, and would not need to be included in the regional district application. Also, the Ka:’yu:’k’t’h’/Che:k’tles7et’h’ First Nations were invited to the board after the application process started, and though the board had the option to amend the application to include the new member, it moved forward because of the tight timeline and the added logistical challenges.
Under the provincial act, a deadline was set for housing reports to be available by April 2022. Parts of the regional district have a similar document which was released in 2017 before the act was in place, but there are gaps in the existing reports that will be filled by this new one.