Any new housing project development that is four units or greater in Williams Lake could be eligible to receive a grant up to $10,000 per unit.

The City will be pursuing the Northern Development Initiative Trust’s (NDIT) newly established housing incentive program.

“One of the issues in Williams Lake is that we’ve built on a lot of our land and so the land that is available we really want developers to look at it with the eye of densifying it,” said Economic Development Officer, Beth Veenkamp.

“So a really great example of that is the project on first avenue where we’re going to have all of these new units created.”

Veenkamp added they are looking for more projects like this, and that the program is a tool that developers can use to help them get there.

The program provides a maximum contribution of $200,000.  It does not allow renovations of current existing properties, but the conversion of existing commercial properties to new residential units.

Mayor Walt Cobb said the City’s development services team will continue to work with local developers to ensure that all of the available incentive programs are being fully utilized in this region to help with our current housing shortage.

CAO Milo MacDonald noted in a June 18 Committee of Whole Council report that Williams Lake is facing a housing crisis and has nearly run out of readily developable land.

“The Province owns two large parcels of land that would make an enormous difference to our ability to meet housing demand,” he said.

“One parcel is owned by the School District (Poplar Glade); the other is owned by Thompson Rivers University, and these sites could contribute a much-needed package of residential building lots to support the growth of our community. Conversations with both institutions have not yielded results and these parcels should not be holding properties when the public interest has clearly identified a crisis in housing supply at all levels.”