Teri Towner | Community Builder | Inspirational Speaker | Coquitlam City Councillor

Housing Solutions

I couldn’t afford to live in Metro Vancouver if I didn’t already – not even as a renter. Chances are my kids won’t be able to afford to live here.  Many families are in the same position.  Living in a region with natural beauty, a strong economy and many reasons that make it an attractive place to live has really distorted the market with respect to affordability.  I am passionate about implementing solutions whereby this can be addressed.

A Housing Affordability Strategy was implemented during my term on Council – a strategy we worked very hard to create – and is proving to be successful. For example, in 2017 alone, over 700 units of purpose-built rental housing units were approved. As at April 30, 2018 there were an anticipated 3159 new purpose-built rental units and 986 new below-market and non-market units in stream.  

A primary goal of the HAS we adopted back in December 2015 is to work with partners in the non-profit, private and public sectors to ensure that a variety of housing types, sizes, tenures and prices will be available in Coquitlam in the years ahead of us. Rental housing is one of these and I am pleased that rental housing is going to become a more predominant from of housing in our city.  Many people want to live in Metro Vancouver but owning a home is not something that will be within their reach in this housing market.  Having an adequate supply of rental housing gives people an option to stay in Metro Vancouver, to stay in Coquitlam if that’s what they choose to do.

I want to continue to refine our successful HAS – attracting more affordable housing options for families and seniors – and for those whom a single-family house is out of reach. 

I have been addressing housing affordability by encouraging/supporting different housing forms and pushing for and supporting proposals for housing options that aren’t the too small condo or the too expensive house. One of the main responsibilities of a City Councillor is to make decisions regarding land use.  I take that role very seriously and want to ensure our City Council makes the best decisions for the community with respect to the use of our limited land.  

A blog I wrote earlier this year: https://www.teritowner.ca/2018/02/coquitlams-focus-on-addressing-housing-affordability/

We need to keep providing incentives to secure a wide range of housing options and solutions.  I support incremental density in neighbourhoods where it fits.  Our Housing Choices program has seen some success with fourplexes, laneway housing and 2-lot splits and I look forward to more creative options and better use of our precious land as we go forward.  

I aim to keep incentivizing and supporting rental projects so we can achieve a minimum 3% rental vacancy rate here in Coquitlam.  Increasing the supply of rental housing and addressing the vacancy rate will help stabilize rental rates and will provide more opportunities for those “harder to house” to find housing.  Increasing the vacancy rate will also hopefully encourage landlords currently refusing to maintain their rental units, to improve them – so the quality of the rental homes improves.  3% isn’t a fantastic number with respect to rental vacancy rates, but it’s a start.   

There’s some angst in our city regarding the possible re-development of our mobile home parks.  I believe we need this type of housing in Coquitlam and will be a loud voice at the table to ensure this type of housing remains.  

A housing solution I am VERY proud to have spearheaded:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/volunteers-find-creative-solution-to-house-refugees-in-coquitlam-b-c-1.4144384

The first housing project utilizing the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund https://www.facebook.com/notes/teri-towner/coquitlams-first-partnership-using-the-affordable-housing-reserve-fund/10153815675892182/ 

To read the City of Coquitlam Housing Affordability Strategy, adopted in December 2015 : https://www.coquitlam.ca/planning-and-development/resources/affordable-housing.aspx

A post I made back in summer of 2017: https://www.facebook.com/notes/teri-towner/realizing-rental-housing/10155026612322182/