Quesnel City Council has decided to take it one step further on a trial basis.

Part of the strategy in the past has included housing, something that has become more and more difficult to find, and compounding that is the need for quick short term stays for students or healthcare residents who come in on a three month term.

Amy Reid is the City’s Economic Development Officer…

“There is an opportunity for the city to rent an apartment in the new building from Dakelh and the intention would be to sublet the apartment to healthcare professionals as they arrive in the community. The apartment that is available is a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment on McLean Street.”

The cost would be between 16 and 17 thousand dollars annually for rent, parking, laundry, cleaning, hydro and other costs, as well as roughly 7 to 10 thousand to furnish it, but Mayor Bob Simpson says it is not a subsidy…

“This is a facilitation. What we’re trying to do is facilitate ease of access to housing. You’ve got a business case in here, it would be a cost recovery program that eventually should just tick along on a cost recovery basis.”

The general consensus around the table was that other communities were starting to copy Quesnel’s success, and that this was a way to keep a competitive advantage.

Councillor Martin Runge noted that one apartment wasn’t going to solve the problem, something that City Manager Byron Johnson agreed with, but he also felt it could be expanded…

“I think we’ll start to see if it works, we’ll see what are the repercussions financially on the city, what are the repercussions around how much work this is turning into, and it may be in six months time we come back to Council and say this program is working so well we think we should look for an opportunity to expand it somehow, and be able to take on maybe another segment of the clientele here, who we really can’t serve because we don’t have enough apartment space.”

Johnson noted that they had to start somewhere, adding that this was the cautious approach.

It will be reviewed after a one year period.