Dawson Creek city council candidates tackle development pressures

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The responses from those who participated will be published over the next three days. In total, nine candidates responded. Mile 0 City News has not received responses from candidates James Bridges, Linda Winfield, Duncan Malkinson, and Cory “Grizz” Longley as of yet, but their responses will be added if received before Friday. Mile 0 City News was unable to confirm email addresses for candidates Miles Mortensen and Charlie Parslow, but attempts will be made to follow up with them.

Candidates were asked to keep their responses to each question to a limit of 150 words, but their responses have not been edited in any way. The responses to the questions will be published in the order they were received. The fourth question, and the responses to it, is as follows:   

What should city council be doing to prepare for the expected boom in development in Dawson Creek, especially with regards to ensuring a diverse and affordable range of housing options?

Raymond Fromme: City council has to produce logical zoning and provide a functional infrastructure for our industry.

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“Housing” of course, is market driven and I realize that some citizens will have problems to find affordable housing. The BC Housing Corp. is one venue to approach for affordable housing. Our building contractors have to think about this subject as well. Maybe it is not a good idea to build $500,000.oo houses. Why not scale down to a more affordable level. You can build a beautiful, functional house for $300,000.oo. Duplexes are more affordable as well and those are good rental projects. Citizens are able to lease a (basement) room to a temporary worker.

Trina Commandeur: Gap consultation identified affordable housing needs during the last election year, even with Driver House Dawson Creek has failed. Three years later and there is a greater need for affordable housing. Right now there are families not sure where they and their children will live at the end of November, with affordability being the problem. Dawson Creek could also implement bylaws to ensure that there is a steady supply of affordable housing. Advocate to federal/ provincial governments to maintain a role in supportive housing provision in the community. Gap consultation indicated in 2008 that 500 affordable housing units would be a ‘good start’ towards addressing community need, and that those units must include a variety of options to meet different needs of households. Populations in need of affordable housing include single parents, the working poor, people on disability or social assistance, youths and seniors. National Housing Day is Nov 22.


Trevor Allaby: Council should be trying to arrange for a variety of developers to come into Dawson Creek. As a community we could work at attracting companies that build nursing homes, but at the same time we need to be sure that we have the infrastructure in place to be able to quickly service any new homes and/or buildings.


Doug Ragan: Many duplexes and condominiums have already been constructed throughout Dawson Creek and further housing development is in effect in the northern area of our city. Some plans were also introduced for further development east of 3rd Street. Perhaps a new mobile home park would serve as a safety valve in case of a sudden influx of workers. Our Mayor has estimated 600 families to be expected to settle in Dawson Creek but I think those numbers are generous to say the least.


Shaely Wilbur: It is important that the City knows the needs of our Seniors and fixed income families. This will ensure that the information can be passed on to and used to encourage potential developers. We have a serious housing issue and no one should be left behind.


David MacDonald: The city needs to be working on something with developers to ensure that a percentage of all houses being built are for low or fixed income.  The city needs to also take a proactive role and start to look at trying to get more healthcare professionals we need to make sure we have a partnership with Universities and work with the NLC to ensure we get the interest of the graduates in these fields.  We have a lot to offer as a community now we just need to make sure we get the word out there and attract some of them to our City.


Cheryl Shuman: The current council has worked to update our Official Community Plan (OCP) that will see future development increase the density of our city as it grows. The OCP recognizes a diverse variety of housing options that when developed will increase the number of units available as well as a variety in the cost of those units. It is City Council’s role to make sure that the developers are able to move through the permitting process in a timely fashion, which may mean allocating sufficient funds to the appropriate city departments or making sure they are available for Special Meetings to move a developments forward. Council is also responsible for advocating to higher levels of Government for social housing options needed in our community. I am committed to supporting groups that provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. 


Sue Kenny: City Council has to continue to do as it has been doing to promote affordable housing. This has been done through passing the Official Community Plan this year that promotes density building within the city. This meaning suites above garages, mother-in-law apartments, semi detached housing, duplexes and multi living buildings and smaller lots in general. The city needs to continue to work with developers to encourage multi unit affordable housing.


Terry McFadyen: We are working on several fronts. our ocp to help with zoning.  availability now of in-law suites and carriage houses.


Mile 0 City would like to thank all of the candidates who participated for their time and consideration in answering these questions. Check back with Mile 0 City tomorrow for the responses to the fifth and final question.


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