On Affordability

On Housing

Rental market housing, and in particular more affordable rental housing, continues to be an issue in Revelstoke. How far do you think the city’s involvement should extend? Should the city continue to be involved in supporting affordable housing initiatives? If so, how? If not, why not?

My husband and I have moved 10 times in our 10 years living in Revelstoke. We’ve lived in Columbia Park, Southside, Catherwood and in the central core. The Big Eddy just never worked out, and Arrow Heights and Johnson Heights seemed unreasonable since we’d need a second vehicle to make it realistic for work.

I say this to show my understanding of the current housing crisis. Service workers like my husband, a Chef, are an important part of our community. Unless their wages get a significant increase, or income tax reform stops the clawing back from what little they do earn, affordability will be an issue in our City for the foreseeable future. Then there those who work “good” jobs, make a reasonable wage, but who still barely make enough to make ends meet because of our high cost of living.

Anything that is important to our citizens should be important to us as the level of government closest to them. So yes, the city should continue to support affordable housing initiatives.

But how?

Affordability is a complex issue that involves transit, housing, and food security. All of these issues are currently being tackled by incredible people in our community, but are being held back in various ways. What council needs to do is support these groups and create the regulatory framework that lets them do their work more effectively.

Do you think the city is doing enough to combat the lack of long-term rentals due to an increase in vacation rentals? Do you think there is a need to develop new regulations and/or have stricter enforcement of existing regulations?

Housing is becoming a hot topic across our province, not just here in Revelstoke. It’s easy to talk about the symptoms, more challenging to look at the problem. The lack of long term rentals is much more complicated that just the prevalence of vacation rentals, and the prevalence of vacation rentals is being pushed by a range of issues.

The problem is that housing is so expensive in our community, even those with good incomes have to take on renters.

The problem is that the rules are so inflexible, tenants must share space in your family home, rather than using innovative ideas for density.

The problem is that the rents are so high, and the housing so limited, roommates live in closets and on floors. Damage to homes leads to homeowners becoming cynical about tenants.

Let’s take holistic view of what housing in Revelstoke could look like. The public engagement process of the upcoming OCP will help us address concerns that are raised, and come up with a Made in Revelstoke vision that is practical to implement, and does not pit neighbour against neighbour.

On Parking & Transportation

There have been concerns raised that the increasing number of businesses with patios and the introduction of bicycle parking is removing vehicle parking spots in the downtown core. This includes a concern over disabled parking spots disappearing in order to allow businesses to have patios. What do you think about the parking issue and how do you see it being resolved?

Parking is a symptom of the larger issue of transportation in our community.

If you work downtown, or want to bring your kids up to the hospital, the bus scheduling and routes make it impractical.

For those who work for lower wages, the need for a vehicle puts undue pressure on their budgets.

For the larger offices, this leads to a downtown full of staff vehicles and no room for our customers.

Disabled parking spots have been moved, but have not disappeared. There are ways to make our community more accessible and easier to navigate, and it has nothing to do with patios.

Our wayfinding needs to be updated so that visitors can find their way to the existing parking areas.

Our transit needs to be modernized so that it’s commuter friendly.

Our trail system needs to be completed and maintained so that bikes and pedestrians are off the main thoroughfares. Kids should be able to travel to school on their own steam without putting their safety at risk.

On Food Security

Food Security is one of the reasons I bought my store; I was horrified by the number of people that seem to accept the fact that they “don’t cook”. It’s more than just “I’m no chef”. It’s relying corporate, processed food because you’re dissatisfied with (or intimidated by) a basic, home cooked meal.

Food Security is complex and involves several goals regarding nutritious food;

  • Affordable access.
  • Sufficient production within a reasonable distance to support the community.
  • The ability to prepare meals from basic ingredients.
  • Reducing our food waste through proper storage and preservation,
  • Diverting excess food and organic waste from our landfill.

The support for our local Food Bank is incredible, and the work Community Connections is doing with the Food Recovery program is a model nation wide. The people running these programs, however, do so without sufficient resources. We need to ask the people on the ground what support they need, and find ways that the city can support their efforts.

Food Security is not just for those who cannot afford their groceries; it’s in the best interest of all residents. We need to ensure that our next generation can feed themselves.