The City of Kelowna is taking aim at the lack of affordable housing with the 2022 updated Official Community Plan.
In addition to the new 2040 Official Community Plan (OCP), the city put housing into their main focus for their annual community trends report as the city is expected to add another 45,000 residents by 2040.
The trends report found that the city is currently sitting at a comparable ratio of average income to average house price as that London, England, which is considered one of the most unaffordable major urban centres.
Almost half, 47 per cent, of renter households in Kelowna spend more than a third of their gross income on their rent, three per cent more than Vancouver and four per cent more than the provincial average.
That is in part driven by rent costs outpacing wages by a significant margin, with an average two-bedroom secondary market rental in Kelowna rising in cost by 24.6 per cent from October 2020 to $2,180.11 in October 2021 according to some of the research done for the report.
Households seeking to purchase a home are not immune to the rise in prices either, with fewer than one in 10 Kelowna households able to afford the benchmark price for a detached home in Kelowna at November, 2021’s prices.
Since 2001, income has increased on average by 76 per cent in Kelowna, while a two-bedroom rental has gone up by 116 per cent, a strata property by 225 per cent and a single family development by 396 per cent.
The 2040 OCP, includes several aspects that are targeted at the housing crunch, such as improving support for a wider variety of housing beyond single-family homes or apartments.
The city is also curtailing Kelowna’s outward expansion by putting a halt to allowing further suburban neighbourhoods, and instead putting the focus on growing existing communities.
More rental housing in the city’s urban centres, through both supporting applications for purpose-built rentals and through continuing city land acquisition and housing partnerships, are also key objectives. Ensuring that residents do not get displaced and neighbourhoods gentrified is also listed as an objective.
The OCP was passed during Monday’s (Jan.10) council meeting, with everyone in favour.
The full 328 page OCP document can be found online on the city’s website.
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