Banff council approves $54,000 housing study
Banff is doing a housing study to get a better handle on what the tourist town’s housing issues are.
At a meeting on Monday (June 11), Banff town council unanimously directed $54,250 come from the budget stabilization fund to pay for an updated housing study.
Mayor Karen Sorensen, who opposed a $70,000 housing study during 2012 budget deliberations, said she now believes it’s time to examine Banff’s housing situation, saying it has been 10 years since the last study.
“I’ve come around on this. I think the population and the community has changed in the last 10 years,” she said.
“I think it will set the direction for many things; future projects and the BHC (Banff Housing Corporation) itself. I think it is necessary information.”
The study aims to determine what the housing needs of the Banff townsite are for the next 10 years, complete an affordability analysis and find out any gaps that may exist between housing supply and demand.
Eight companies responded to a Request for Proposal (RFP) to do a study for the BHC, with prices ranging from $37,300 to $93,656. In the end, the BHC board went with Calgary-based Housing Strategies Inc.
Councillor Leslie Taylor, who sits on the BHC’s board of directors, said the board went through an extremely diligent process to vet the companies interested in completing the study.
“We believe the price is a fair one and reflects the middle of the road, and reflects the proposal most able to meet the needs of the community,” she said.
Coun. Taylor said she supports the idea of updating the housing information before investing in a new housing project.
“Everyone I talk to tells me that ‘anybody knows’ what the housing problem is – and then it turns out that each person has a different version,” she said.
“Some believe that there is no longer a problem – that our housing supply has caught up with demand. Others say we need seniors’ housing, or accessible housing, or managed housing for young, single-entry staff, or starter homes for the first-time buyer, or move-up homes for the family looking for more room. I believe we need some concrete data to back up any future projects.”
In March, the BHC board of directors decided to get another appraisal of six lots on Cave Avenue done by the end of June and negotiate with Parks Canada to acquire lands by the fall.
A non-profit municipally owned housing developer, the BHC has built seven housing developments for a total of 173 units and 45 suites. It has since acquired an additional 10 units. Within the portfolio of 183 units are 22 units that have a resale price tied to a price restriction.
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