N.B. survey shows demand for more affordable housing

By Angela Brown
November 9, 2017 - 10:31am

The City of North Battleford's housing needs survey shows an "overwhelming" number of residents want more affordable housing.

Consulting firm V3 Companies from Saskatoon presented the results of the survey at two public open house meetings on Nov. 2. 

Urban planner Alan Wallace said an "overwhelming amount" of people who completed the survey identified the following projects as priorities for city tax abatement incentives: affordable rental apartments/housing; supportive housing; and entry-level ownership housing.

"One of the hardest things to save for is a down payment [for a first home]," said Wallace.

Respondents also identified the need for incentives to build more shelters and transitional housing.

Wallace said people's responses show there is a demand for these types of housing and for the city to provide incentives to develop them.

The survey also indicated many people favoured the city making policy changes - such as zoning changes or making land more available for housing.

"There was overwhelming support for that," said Wallace.

Most respondents also favoured the idea that the city should take “a greater leadership role” in working with other partners to solve housing issues in North Battleford.

Wallace said people’s responses to all the survey questions were very clear and focused.

"It gave us confidence in moving forward with some specific actions for the city of North Battleford," he said.

The City of North Battleford's housing needs online survey had an overall positive response with close to 200 people participating.

City community safety coordinator Herb Sutton said it may have been better to see about 350 participants, but believes the numbers were good.

V3 Companies is working on the survey project as part of the City of North Battlefords housing strategy and action plan.

'What they were looking for was feedback from the community on some [issues] being considered for recommendations," said Sutton. 

V3 Companies gathered feedback on a number of topics including policy changes, financial incentives, community support, and research and monitoring, and education and awareness.

The city has also been working with a committee called Battlefords Affordable Housing and Homelessness (BAHAH) to provide some direction for the study.

The city expects to meet with V3 Companies next week.

"We'll share what we can that was presented at the open house and get feedback from the committee members," said Sutton. "Then, we'll pass that along to the consultants."

Alan Wallace said although the turnout for the open houses was small, the people who did attend "provided very good feedback."

The firm has also completed six separate consultations with stakeholders and further discussed the project with the city.

Wallace said the firm will present its report from the survey results in a draft to N.B. city council in early December, and should have the final report with recommendations ready for February 2018, after meeting with the steering committee on the project in January 2018.


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