City lays groundwork for housing committee

The City of Prince Rupert is one step closer to forming groups to address housing shortages within the community.

The City of Prince Rupert is one step closer to forming groups to address housing shortages within the community.

Council approved the creation of a Select Standing Committee on Housing at the Jan. 12 meeting, requesting that staff come up with a terms of reference.

However instead of discussing the terms presented in the report from city manager Robert Long, council considered framework created and presented by Coun. Joy Thorkelson.  Mayor Lee Brain explained that upon review of the terms of reference it was decided that Thorkelson’s suggestions were more in-line with the direction the city would like to go in to address housing issues.

Thorkelson suggested the city focus on identifying and ranking housing needs to prioritize its involvement in finding solutions. She said this work could best be done by splitting the committee into two groups.

“One from the side of the people who are in need of housing and one from the side of people who are in charge of or have to deal with supplying housing,” Thorkelson said.

The first committee would help the city prioritize its efforts by engaging all sectors of the community to identify the extent of critical housing needs, urgent or looming housing needs, necessary but not urgent and future housing desires. This committee would also gather feedback on how these needs could be met.

The second committee’s purpose would be to determine rental availabilities by working with housing providers and realtors in Prince Rupert.

Thorkelson suggested both committees be obliged to report their findings to council at an April meeting, at which point the city could decide on its next plan of action.

“The timeline is aggressive which is great. It gives us incentive to move the energy forward,” Brain said.

In the end, council agreed to table passing the framework until the Feb. 23 meeting to give members of council time for review and to brainstorm names of individuals to appoint to each committee.