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Southern Gulf Islands Housing Strategy
On May 11, 2022, The Capital Regional District Board endorsed a housing strategy for the Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area (SGI EA). Like many communities in the Capital Regional District, housing affordability is the result of a complexity of factors that, in the SGI EA, are compounded by the unique characteristics of the islands as rural, remote, environmentally sensitive, and growth constrained. Affordable housing is a top priority for the Regional Director(s) of the Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area (SGI EA) and the Southern Gulf Islands Community Economic Sustainability Commission (SGI CESC), which has identified the need for affordable housing as a key factor influencing the economic and social sustainability of the islands.
Within the constraints of the islands, there remain many positive strategic actions that can be advanced to alleviate the strain of the housing crisis. The SGI Housing Strategy provides a path to get there within the framework of a CRD Rural Housing Program. The strategy also includes an objective to advance a whole government approach. While it is written for the CRD, multiple actors need to work together to make tangible progress. This is a shared responsibility of the federal, provincial, and local governments, but cannot be successful without partnerships with the non-profit sector and residents alike.
Accompanying the strategy are two reports to support implementation. The Updated Regional Needs Assessment: SGI Market Analysis (Urban Matters, March 2022) provides an update to the SGI Housing Needs Assessment (JG Consulting, 2018) and demonstrates the dramatic increase in the cost of housing since pre-pandemic times. The Southern Gulf Islands Housing Feasibility Analysis (Wiser Projects, May 2022) provides a summary of challenges and opportunities in the housing environment of the SGI and is supported by proformas with estimated costs for development of a range of housing typologies permitted under zoning in the Southern Gulf Islands.