The City currently in the process of researching and reviewing with other municipalities what tools are available to ensure that new developments including but not limited to those that may benefit form the increase in tourism (for example hotels, condos for short term rental) contribute to employee housing. One of the tools that is available to Resort Municipalities under provincial legislation is Employee Housing DCCs. Revelstoke staff in coordination with Whistler Centre for Sustainability are currently leading an initiative to collaborate with the province to get a better understanding of how this tool can be implemented.
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Short Term Rentals can take away available housing stock that would otherwise be available for long term rentals. This can be in the form of secondary suites that are usually considered more affordable rental options. Conversely, in some situations, Short Term Rental can provide supplementary income for a permanent resident onsite operator to offset the high costs of housing in resort municipalities. Given that Revelstoke has a low vacancy rate and minimal rental stock available, careful monitoring and enforcement is required to ensure Short Term Rentals don’t reduce available long-term housing stock.
Revelstoke’s housing stock is comprised of approximately 80% single detached residences. The Official Community Plan includes a target for new development that no more than 25% be single-detached residential. By 2041, if the community meets this target, Revelstoke will include be a predominately single-detached community with 63% of residential development being single-detached residences. Supporting more ground oriented residential development (i.e. duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and row houses) is an important part of the market housing strategy to try increase the supply of more affordable home options.
Currently, the City’s zoning bylaw only permits Short Term Rentals in specifically zoned areas. While the rules differ depending upon which zoning you have, some of the areas do have requirements where a Short Term Rental must be operated by a permanent resident onsite operator. Visit the Planning and Development Services – Short Term Rental section of the City’s webpage for more info.
The Official Community Plan (OCP) currently includes policies (see Section 4.2.1(h)) to protect existing mobile home parks. The OCP also includes actions to consider adoption of a Mobile Home Park Redevelopment policy to help ensure additional protections for existing residents. While mobile home parks can provide affordable options for residents, they can also provide challenges as the residents do not typically own the land and are renting a pad (except for unique situations such as Johnson Heights), increasing vulnerability when an owner attempts to redevelop. With respect to additional mobile home parks, they are typically low density development and in Revelstoke where land is increasingly expensive, higher density is generally needed for a development to be feasible. Supporting smaller lot residential zones and eliminating outdated requirements such as a 6.0 m wide building width could help modular type structures be more readily permitted on smaller lots across the City, improving affordability.
The charge is $5,908.00 per employee. Employees are determined on the following basis:
This would be specific on the agreement that is in place for employee housing unit. Generally speaking, the agreements would include some language that would seek to cover details on circumstances that ay arise for the employee.
The City is already working to try and establish real solutions for the ongoing housing crisis. Zoning amendments to increase supply of market housing including increased in density, expanding bonus density allowances (these are subject to housing agreements), allowances for carriage and garden suites, allowances for secondary suites in multi-unit dwellings, and short term rental regulations are some examples of rules that have been established to support housing. In addition, the City is currently working on two policies, one for establishing an Affordable Housing Reserve, and the other to guide municipal land disposition in conjunction with a comprehensive municipal land inventory. Staff are already examining ways to build up the Affordable Housing Reserve (employee housing DCC, cash-in-lieu payments for density bonusing). Lastly, by working with other municipal counterparts such as those at the Housing Summit, Revelstoke is seeking to learn from best practises for the City to implement.
Will add responses as received by other municipalities.
Resort Municipality of Sun Peaks
Sun Peaks is currently at the early stages with our Housing Authority and has not yet established a dedicated funding source. Without dedicated funding, our current approach has been partnerships with private sector and providing municipal incentive through DCC waivers and property tax holidays. Will put a dedicated funding policy in place very soon.
District of Tofino
It is my belief that without dedicated funding, Tofino would not have affordable housing
Whistler Housing Authority
Certainly not meeting our community goal of housing a minimum of 75% of employees within our municipal boundaries. Having employees afford to be able to live locally contributes to the success, diversity, and resilience of our community. Whistler’s Employee Housing Program administered by the Whistler Housing Authority creates the opportunity for employees to live affordability and securely in Whistler in close proximity to where they work. Most Whistler employees would struggle financially to afford to live in Whistler without the Whistler Housing Authority Program.
A Development Permit was issued by Council in September 2022 for Phase 1. Staff have been working with BC Housing and to encourage submission of a building permit and have offered ways to expedite the process. BC Housing has a specific process that they go through to secure financing and tender the project, and it is Staffs understanding that BC Housing is will be engaged in this process this spring. Staff will continue to work with BC Housing and expedite all reviews to get Phase 1 initiated as soon as possible.
The Whistler Housing Authority does not retain an equity share in any of the affordable homeownership units, we do of course in our WHA owned and operated affordable rental units. We require Housing Covenants to be registered on title of all of our employee housing units that stipulate the rental rate and sale price of every unit created. These restrictions stay on title when the properties transfer ownership. There is also an Option to Purchase/Right of First Refusal Covenant in the name of the RMOW that enables the municipality to purchase back a covenanted employee housing unit whenever it sells or if the owner is using it in breach of the covenanted restrictions.
Micro homes are already permitted in Revelstoke. These are just single-detached dwellings that must comply with BC Building code and / or CSA standards for a permanent dwelling. Micro homes on wheels are considered Recreational Vehicles under BC Building Code (something that the City cannot supersede) and are permitted in campgrounds. Any developer is permitted to apply for a rezoning to create a small lot residential zone to allow for the development of small single-detached residences. The City will be working to create a standard small lot residential zone as part of the Zoning Bylaw Comprehensive Re-Write project.
While this would be context specific to the agreement that is in place for affordable housing project, generally speaking, most agreements qualifications are based on gross annual income, so seasonal fluctuations should not typically have an impact on one’s ability to qualify.
Will add responses as received from other Resort Municipalities.
As Tourism Sun Peaks was established before our Municipality, OAP/MRDT funds flow directly to them. The Municipality has not requested access to these funds for Housing.
We are using 50% of the revenues received from OAP/MRDT to be used as a direct capital contribution for the development of new affordable employee housing supply.
Tofino has experienced anti-affordable housing complaints from some residents as well as a local taxpayer association.
Yes. Modular housing under the right circumstances can be more inexpensive that traditional construction (although currently with labour shortages and material price increases, the difference between the two types of construction may be less).
This is a challenging questions as migration between cities and provinces is quite common within Canada. Housing is generally one if not the largest single expense for most individuals. To support affordability to ensure local residents are not displaced, the City can develop zoning regulations to incentivize more of the market housing supply to support the “missing middle”, implement further mobile home park protections through policy, and continue to examine tools for non-market housing to increase the supply to ensure that local residents are not displaced as the community continues to grow.
Will add responses when received from other municipalities.
Sun Peaks allows short term rentals in all Tourist Accommodation zoned areas which is primarily condo/townhouse complexes as well as through a Temporary Use Permit application process that allows up to 25% of any individual single family resident neighbourhoods to rent short term. Business license costs have recently been raised to cover the costs of a third party software program that will automate much of the complaint process and monitoring of advertising to ensure compliance with zoning and business license requirements.
District of Sicamous
Part 1: The first step in balancing the availability of housing with short term rentals is understanding the impact of short term rentals on housing supply. This means that local governments need access to data that isn't made readily available - a recommendation of the District's housing strategy is to support UBCM's call to action in this regard. In the meantime, regulation through a municipalities ability to issue business licences is the principle way to collect this information. The District implemented regulations through its zoning bylaw and business licencing bylaw early 2023.
Part 2: Bylaw Enforcement is a service for which the cost of is reflected in our business licencing fees for short term rentals. Part of the District’s housing strategy contemplates implementation of a BON system, which requires partnering with regional local governments to establish. This was already being contemplated and could be a significant enforcement tool that may be necessary to use.
Part 3: MRDT is a municipal sales tax on tourist accommodations, including short term rentals. Currently, the District participates in MRDT at 2%. Since implementation of regulations for short term rentals, the District has seen a significant increase in these funds. These funds can only be used to support tourism, however, with the support of accommodation providers, can contribute an additional 1% to a specific housing project. The District's housing strategy recommends exploring this with accommodation providers at the end of the current agreement and hopes to find support for one of the District's partner projects.
STR bylaws are under review – currently STR bylaws have numerous restrictions and requirements – licensing fees are quite high in order to cover costs of enforcement. OAP has been covering many costs. There is a future possibility more MRDT may be transferred to affordable housing, though that would take stakeholder discussion and agreement.
We allocate the revenue received from OAP/MRDT – 50% to Tourism Whistler promoting and supporting a thriving tourism market in Whistler, and 50% towards the creation of long term affordable employee housing for the community’s workforce.
The Sun Peaks resort operator currently have 380 beds used for their own staff accommodation and are in the process of developing additional units. The resort operator is also assisting with the development of an employee housing project through the allocation of available land that will be available to all employees of Sun Peaks businesses. The restriction to Sun Peaks employees will be through a covenant in favour of the Municipality. Future parcels of land are also designated for municipal of housing authority employees housing projects as the community grows. In addition, we are communicating with existing businesses to make sure that they clearly understand that it is their best interests to seek housing for their season employees but either purchasing employee housing or leasing housing that they manage for their employees. Non-market housing restricted to employees in the community with COLA increases on capital costs and managed by the Housing Authority must be established for the year-round families who wish to make your community home. This will provide long term affordable housing for year-round staff, easier said than done but this is our challenge.
Will add to the response when received from other municipalities (however City has a response below on our regulations)
In January 2022, Revelstoke adopted changes to the Zoning Bylaw that allow for a carriage or garden suite on all properties that have a single-detached dwelling to support further infill. While this is important for pursuing “gentle densification” it is only one tool to support solutions to the housing crisis.
Yes, as part of the Official Community Plan one of the reports completed was an Age Friendly Report. Encouraging an increase in the supply of smaller dwelling units (condos, row houses etc.) where maintenance is addressed through a strata for things like lawn care and snow removal will be important to ensure that there are housing options for an aging population.
Will add to the response when received from other municipalities.
Within Whistler, the charge to contribute for employee housing is $5,908.00 per employee. Employees are determined on the following basis:
Sun Peaks is unique in that the lift company has a Master Development Agreement with the Province and is the only one with access to develop vacant Crown lands which is linked to developing recreation infrastructure (new ski lifts). There are provisions for allocations of future land for employee housing as the community grows. We have not yet implemented specific cash in lieu or unit requirements for development. A specific housing Development Cost Charge will be brought in this spring to establish a source of dedicated funding for our Housing Authority.
The District does not currently require direct contributions as a condition of zoning. Our zoning bylaw employes an amenity bonus mechanism, whereby a developer may have an additional 2 dwellings or sleeping units per attainable rental unit provided. Our Development Cost Charge Bylaw currently includes exemptions for Affordable Housing, however this is a low-income threshold and does not speak to median income; our DCC bylaw is under review as recommended by the housing strategy. In addition, the strategy contemplates additional incentives through revitalization tax exemptions and a pre-approved plan library (siting permit required only, no DP), delegated approvals (short permitting turn around) as well as potentially establishing a requirement to provide a minimum number of attainable dwelling units or a cash in lieu contribution to the housing fund.
DCCs as well as affordable housing units are calculated with an existing equation – this will also be under review.
For developers of commercial, industrial, or residential units subject to a rental pool, the developer has the option to contribute to the provision of employee housing in Whistler in 3 ways:
See RMOW Employee Housing Service Charge Bylaw for more information and employee generation formula.
This is a challenging question. While the Official Community Plan (OCP) has population projects that were used to identify housing needs and inform the overall development strategy to meet this need, careful evaluation of future trends is needed to ensure that Revelstoke is adapting. Constant evaluation of local trends will be important to ensuring that the overall goals of the OCP with respect to housing are being met. The OCP has a separate Implementation Plan and as per that plan, staff will bring forward an annual report (starting this fall) that will serve as a status update to determine if the objectives of the OCP are being met.
This is a great out of the box idea, but to date this has not been considered. As part of the comprehensive land inventory that is currently underway, consideration for existing City lots to review future development potential while ensuring parking is maintained is being considered.
Volunteers in the community, Council, and City staff have been hard at work to produce meaningful results to help the community achieve its collective vision with respect to housing. This is a challenging issue that can be complicated and requires coordination between all levels of government to produce meaningful results. Some action that has been completed of late with respect to housing:
The current DCC bylaw reduces DCCs by 50% for non-profit housing development. Staff will be initiating a DCC bylaw update, and with that update considerations for reducing costs for accessory dwelling units will be completed.
This is something that is within the provincial jurisdiction. The City is supportive of this, but to date, the province has not extended this form of taxation to the City. Continued advocacy from the community is required.
Will provide response when received from other municipalities.
Sun Peaks is unique in that the lift company has a provincially approved Master Development Agreement as is the major developer with exclusively rights to lands for future development. The lift company have been a willing partner in working to solve the Employee Housing challenges and are working with the Municipality to develop an Employee Housing project that will be open to employees of all businesses located in Sun Peaks.
Once the District endorsed its new housing strategy, we began seeing a distinct increase in proponents interested in developing projects that specifically address the housing strategy and our housing needs assessment. As the District moves forward with implementation of the housing strategy it is anticipated that the District will see this trend continue.
We have willing developers, but it has been challenging to impress on developers the current community housing needs amid over all resource limitations and the desire to maintain community character.
Micro homes (or tiny homes) are already permitted in Revelstoke. These are just single-detached dwellings that must comply with BC Building code and / or CSA standards for a permanent dwelling. Micro homes (or tiny homes) on wheels are considered Recreational Vehicles under BC Building Code (something that the City cannot supersede) and are permitted in campgrounds. Any developer is permitted to apply for a rezoning to create a small lot residential zone to allow for the development of small single-detached residences. The City will be working to create a standard small lot residential zone as part of the Zoning Bylaw Comprehensive Re-Write project.
The opportunities for amenity negotiations (i.e. impose affordable housing requirements through Housing Agreement Bylaws) are typically at rezoning stage (although sometimes this occurs at Development Permit / Building Permit through bonus density regulations). City staff and Council do push the limit to ensure that developers are providing these units at the most affordable cost based on pro-formas developed for projects. With increases in interest rates, increases in the price of land, inflation, labour costs, and escalating material costs, there have already been projects that have fallen through prior to final approval due to not being financially viable. While Revelstoke is a desirable community, it will always be a balance to ensure that new development contributes their fair share to addressing the housing crisis while ensuring that the municipality does not make the cost to develop so high that investment goes to other communities.