Terrace, B.C. council commits $500,000 to affordable housing

Money to be drawn from recent land sale gleaned from high sales price to Calgary developer

City council passed a motion last night to allot up to $500,000 to its new Affordable Housing Fund.

The money will come from the January sale of 2.4 acres at the corner of Kenny St. and Park Ave. owned by the city to Calgary-based Coast-to-Coast that the company is currently holding for the future construction of an apartment complex .

Council had already decided to allot some of the $951,000 sale money to the fund.

Groups can then apply to the city with projects that the city might invest in with the fund money.

The affordable housing fund was created by the current council and a bylaw guiding its use passed in September.

Councillor Brian Downie crafted the resolution with councillor Lynne Christiansen at a recent housing committee meeting and the amount decided upon was based on the amount of money that was received for the property above its original assessment value.

“The resolution is that council direct up to $500,000 from the sale of the Kenney St. property placed in the affordable housing fund, and that council consider a strategy for adding to the affordable housing fund in the annual budget process,” said Downie.

He added that specifics of how the total amount would be spent would have to wait for the budgeting period which will continue through into the next year when a new council will be calling the shots following the Nov. 15 local elections.

Councillor Bruce Bidgood asked if a certain percentage proportion should be allocated that would then guide all such land sale money transfers to the fund.

“We just don’t know what the priorities might be for each budgetary year,” mayor Dave Pernarowski responded. “To suggest we will do this every single time … while I understand the intent of that thought it does certainly commit us to allocating the funds and doesn’t give us the flexibility that maybe future councils might like to have.”

“I think this sets the precedent and it will be up to whoever is back here to decide whether to carry on with that precedent,” said councillor James Cordeiro.

Councilor Stacey Tyers was absent because of a work commitment and did not vote on the motion last night, which passed unanimously.