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Victoria springs for $2.5M to build housing for hospitality workers

Money for 40-unit project comes from special fund
The Norwegian Sun cruise ship’s passengers were set to get about a 10-hour stay in Victoria as the vessel docked at Ogden Point on July 18. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)

A major tourism association is praising the City of Victoria for pushing new housing for hospitality workers in an expensive city.

On Thursday, the city approved the Greater Victoria Housing Society’s request for $2.5 million from the Victoria Housing Reserve Fund to assist with the construction of a 40-unit affordable workforce housing project at 2558 Quadra St.

The move was applauded by Destination Greater Victoria because it addresses “the critical issue of suitable and affordable housing for hotel and hospitality workers in the region.”

“This decision demonstrates our commitment to the well-being of those who make Greater Victoria a sought-after destination,” said Paul Nursey, Destination Greater Victoria CEO. “We are proud to be part of this collaborative effort that will not only provide much-needed housing but also enhance the overall quality of life for our dedicated hotel and hospitality workers.”

This decision is in accordance with DGV’s 2022-2026 contract with the City of Victoria to allocate Online Accommodation Platform (OAP) Municipal Regional District Tax (MRDT) revenue for affordable housing purposes.

Since 2018, funds collected from OAP MRDT have been placed in the City of Victoria Housing Reserve Fund, specifically earmarked for the creation of affordable workforce housing for hotel and hospitality workers. The OAP MRDT related to affordable housing is part of the BC Provincial Sales Tax Legislation and operates under a provincial regulatory framework co-managed by Destination BC and The Ministry of Finance.

DGV is the official destination management organization for the region. While workforce housing development isn’t core to DGV’s work, DGV and its partners can contribute to addressing the issue of workforce housing, the group said in a statement.

“The pressing need for affordable housing has been a long-standing concern in Greater Victoria, particularly for the hardworking individuals who power the local hotel and hospitality industry,” reads a DGV statement. “The lack of affordable housing options not only poses significant challenges for workers but also impacts the overall operations of many businesses within the sector.”

READ MORE: Victoria ditching ‘slip lane’ blamed for congestion, but still called ‘great fix’

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