Houston housing needs surveyed

Results to aid District of Houston planning

Researchers connected to the University of Northern B.C. (UNBC) have been in the area interviewing residents about the availability and suitability of housing.

In conjunction with the District of Houston, the goal of interviews by the Community Development Institute is to assemble a demographic and housing profile of the community so that the District can better make policy decisions encouraging housing that will meet the ongoing needs of locals.

This continues a District housing initiative which includes sharing a community planner with the Village of Telkwa.

The new staffer “will be reviewing our development bylaw and other regulations to ensure that the goals and objectives of the bylaws are being achieved and without creating unnecessary barriers to housing development,” explained District of Houston chief administrative officer Gerald Pinchbeck earlier this year.

“As well, they will be available to assist with any development proposals the district may receive and provide assistance to the district in planning for future market and non-market housing development.”

This new position follows on a recent requirement that a local government’s official community plan examine housing and housing needs.

Aside from interviews, the Community Development Institute will review past housing documents, assemble population and housing market profiles and hold a gathering to discuss its draft findings leading to a final report.

Those interviewed were asked 17 questions relating to the availability of rental housing and options for owned housing whether it be of a size for families or smaller accommodation including condominiums.

Opinions on the condition, quality and design of both rental and owned accommodation were also sought.

And interviewees were asked whether existing housing is close to required services or amenities.

Opinions were further gathered regarding the current suitability of housing for individuals, seniors, families and whether the supply is adequate in the years ahead.

“We are interviewing a wide range of people and organizations in order to gain insights and perspectives around current and future housing needs across a wide range of incomes, ages and families/households,” explained institute official Marleen Morris.

As of early last week 34 interviews involving 42 people had already been held.

“In most communities, more than 50 per cent of the housing stock was built before 1980,” Morris added of the institute’s findings from approximately 25 housing studies in the north over the years.

“Housing built pre-1980 is not as energy efficient as housing built after 1980. It is, therefore, more costly to heat. It is also housing stock that is in need of more repair. Both of these factors increase housing costs, impacting housing affordability.”

At the same time, Morris said there’s a mis-match in that while the number of one and two person households in the north is increasing, the majority of the housing stock is three or four bedroom houses.

“People who are looking for smaller places are having difficulty finding them. This means that some people are living in, and paying for, units that are too big for household, which again has an impact on affordability,”” she added.

The institute was formed 15 years ago, specializing in socio-economic and demographic research throughout the north.

Its findings are often relied upon by local and other governments in determining infrastructure requirements connected to the well-being of northern communities.

he work will be looking at both short and long term housing projections and needs with an eye to affordability.

Just Posted

Jill Mackenzie carefully replaces books on the shelves at the Houston Public Library. (Angelique Houlihan photo)
District approves annual library grant

Craft kits featured for summer reading club

The tradition of Houston Christian School grads giving Bibles to incoming kindergarten students will take place this year, but outdoors and in a modified fashion. (File photo)
Houston Christian School grad day is June 24

Grads themselves have set tone for the day, says teacher

Scott Richmond will be starting as the new vice principal for HSS and TSE. (Submitted/Houston Today)
Houston gets a new vice principal

Scott Richmond takes over from Dwayne Anderson who moved to Smithers

A Pacific Salmon Foundation grant of $3,000 is going towards the tree plantations. (Cindy Verbeek photo/Houston Today)
550 trees planted in Houston through A Rocha

Houston Christian School students and volunteers help with the tree planting

Currently the Houston station has 16 paramedics, two ambulances and one community paramedic vehicle. (File photo)
Retirement of longtime paramedics worries Houston community

“No loss of service,” assures BC Emergency Health Services

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

A vial containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is shown at a vaccination site in Marcq en Baroeul, outside Lille, northern France, Saturday, March 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michel Spingler
mRNA vaccines ‘preferred’ for all Canadians, including as 2nd dose after AstraZeneca: NACI

New recommendations prioritizes Pfizer, Moderna in almost all cases

Most Read