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Housing study to examine priority needs across Central Cariboo and Chilcotin

The City of Williams Lake and Cariboo Regional District are launching a housing study this summer to identify the types of homes most urgently needed in the Central Cariboo and Chilcotin.

The study will encompass a broad area stretching from Anahim Lake (Ulkatcho) in the west to Likely/Horsefly in the east, 150 Mile House in the south and McLeese Lake in the north. The project will focus on the housing needs in Williams Lake, with an impact analysis of the population flow from other communities and the broader region that feeds into and moves between Williams Lake and outlying areas.

As housing studies are a provincial legislative requirement as well as a prerequisite of many provincial and federal funding partners, this work will aid stakeholders in demonstrating the area’s priority housing needs for planning and potential funding applications.

“Housing development is a priority area for our community,” Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb said. “As we continue to grow, we need to ensure we have a diversity of housing to meet the needs of all our residents. This study will not only help us to identify what types of housing we need, but give us the evidence to access more funding to provide it, now and into the future.”

CitySpaces, a Vancouver-based consulting firm, was awarded the project contract. Engagement sessions are expected to begin in early September. Residents will be invited to participate via a survey in early autumn, while key stakeholders groups will also provide context for the study. Public engagement opportunities will be advertised by both the CRD and City of Williams Lake.

“CitySpaces has provided a strong plan for engagement with the community. We are especially pleased that it takes into consideration the challenges presented by COVID-19,” said Margo Wagner, Chair of the Cariboo Regional District. “We’re hopeful this will encourage more local residents to share their views, because they will be able to participate from their own homes rather than having to attend an in-person session.”

Steve Forseth, CRD Director for Area D, will be a member of the technical committee. He notes it is important to consider residents in rural communities, as well as the community of Williams Lake.

“Housing is a regional issue affecting us all,” he said. “We need to understand the full scope of the issue to find solutions to our housing challenges.”

The study is scheduled to be completed and made available to the public in December 2020.

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