Community activist Teale Phelps Bondaroff calls on Saanich to step up efforts to improve the supply of affordable housing (Black Press Media file photo).

Community leader calls on Saanich to directly spend money on affordable housing

Teale Phelps Bondaroff calls for “dedicated funds” to support affordable housing

A community leader laments the absence of explicit funding for affordable housing in Saanich’s budget.

“The largest item missing from the budget is dedicated funds set aside to support affordable housing,” said Teale Phelps Bondaroff. A former councillor candidate, Bondaroff is involved in a number of local initiatives and organizations.

He says Saanich has failed to identify appropriate land in order to take advantage of generous provincial programs, such as those offering free modular housing.

Last September, Saanich offered a piece of municipal land near Municipal Hall for supportive modular housing, but the provincial government deemed the land unsuitable. Both sides have held their last official meeting in October 2018, but the municipality has said that it has continued to search for suitable land).

RELATED: Saanich offers land for housing for the homeless

RELATED: Search for modular housing in Saanich continues

That’s insufficient for Bondaroff, who is calling on Saanich to step up efforts.

“Funds should be set aside in order to acquire land for this purpose or modifying existing land to meet requirements to take advantage of programs offered by the provincial government,” he said.

“It is worrisome that the word ‘affordable housing’ appears only once in the budget and that no funds have been specifically set aside to plan for future programs and projects. This is a huge oversight. Given the importance of this issue to Saanich residents, it is something that [council] must address.”

The issue of affordable housing dominated last year’s municipal election against the backdrop of the homeless camp that sprung up in Regina Park last year and housed more than 100 residents. Almost 25 per cent of Saanich’s resident have since identified housing as the top issue facing Saanich, according to most recent edition of Saanich’s citizen survey.

RELATED: Almost 25 per cent of Saanich residents identify housing as top issue

A total of forty-seven per cent of respondents told the survey that they were either “not very satisfied” (32 per cent) or “not all satisfied” (15 per cent) with Saanich’s current policies for encouraging affordable housing. Forty-two per cent said they were “somewhat satisfied” with 11 per cent saying they “were satisfied.”

Several members of council including Mayor Fred Haynes have explicitly promised to make affordable housing a priority over the course of their term, and Saanich councillors are currently debating a number of additions to the draft budget that promise to increase the supply of affordable housing by improving planning and development permit processing times.

RELATED: Early survey results show Saanich ready for garden suites

RELATED: Saanich hub for non-profits will include 16-storey tower

Council will also consider other initiatives such as legalizing garden suites, which the municipality defines as “detached” houses located in rear yards of single-family lots, where they serve as an “accessory” to primary dwellings.

Several housing projects, some including affordable components, are also underway, with likely none more relevant than the $250-million Nigel Valley Project, whose implementation, started by the previous council, will likely take years.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

District of Saanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police respond to successful Facebook scam on Oak Bay resident

Petty thievery in King George Terrace where plants, gargoyle are missing

Owner of Langford construction company gets nine months for sexual assault

Kyle Mostowy already spent time in prison for sexually assaulting employees

UPDATE: Incident near Mount Douglas Park ‘strictly medical,’ Saanich police say

Intoxicated person taken into police custody, brought to hospital

Victoria Clipper suspends services through April 2021

International travel restrictions, COVID-19 uncertainty lead to decision

Oak Bay News celebrates community with photospread

Share your images for a chance to win a gift card

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Suspicious fire quenched before reaching gunpowder in Nanaimo’s historic Bastion

Probe underway in basement blaze that erupted near where powder stored to fire signature cannons

Duncan model makes quarter finals in ‘Maxim’ magazine contest

Brandee Peart among top one per cent left in competition

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Fisherman snags barracuda off Vancouver Island in rare encounter

Ferocious fish, not native to Canada, was netted and released in Alberni Inlet

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Most Read