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City one step closer to adopting affordable housing strategy

The 2020-2030 Affordable Housing Strategy is on its way to Grande Prairie City Council for final debates, but with one big caveat.

“I think there were very broad agreements on the majority of the plan but there was obviously one central disagreement on a very specific part of the plan,” says Mayor Bill Given.

The concept of a Municipal Housing Corporation created a split between members of council, with an amended proposal finally voted upon which asks city administration to look at “autonomous entities that could achieve the same goal of developing new housing.

Given says in the end, the plan moves forward but adds the discussion around the formerly proposed Municipal Housing Corporation really heated up after a round of delegations from members of the home building industry.

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“I think the issue really arose from the private sector and the private home building industry who appeared to think this would be an intrusion into the private market place, and that there are more cost-effective ways to achieve the same results.”

The crux of the city’s affordable housing strategy orbits around the need to create 359 new units for people who qualify for the program. Currently, the city has over 3,000 households meeting the threshold of “core housing needs”, which means they don’t have appropriate housing or pay more than 30 per cent of their gross income on housing costs. However, there are only 766 affordable housing units available.

No timeline has been provided as to when the final amended strategy will be up for debate at council.

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