The City of Williams Lake is teaming up with the Cariboo Regional District to launch a housing study this summer that will identify the types of homes most urgently needed in the Central Cariboo and Chilcotin. 

The study will include the area from Anahim Lake in the west, Likely/Horsefly in the east, 150 Mile House in the south, and McLesse Lake in the north. 

The project will focus on Williams Lake’s housing needs, with an analysis of the population flow from other communities and the region that feeds into and moves between Williams Lake and outlying areas. 

“The purpose of this study is to do a deeper and in-depth look at what housing requirements are going to be in the future,” said Beth Veenkamp, the economic development officer with the City of Williams Lake said. “We all know that we have a housing crunch, and this housing study will help us more clearly define the priority areas so that we are addressing the biggest needs that were identified in the community.” 

Veenkamp said that the study would give them a better understanding of the needs and make sure that they get it right when they undertake any kind of development. 

“We really know that there is a desperate need for more sort of market housing for seniors that are more suitable for them,” she said. “We also understand that multi-family housing is really in short supply as it housing for professionals that are coming to our community, and then we’ve got to also consider the needs of low-income and people who need supportive housing.” 

Housing studies are a Provincial legislative requirement, and Veenkamp said that for any municipality or non-profit groups to access funds through B.C. Housing, they need to have a current housing study. 

“The last one that we had completed in Williams Lake was about 2014,” she said. “We are definitely due for one. This is a piece that will enable us to move forward with approaching B.C. Housing for some assistance with the development.” 

CitySpaces, a Vancouver-based consulting firm, was awarded the project contract that will start next month. 

“Our initial plan is to do a lot of over a Zoom meeting format when we do the stakeholder engagement and community engagement,” she said. “Resident will also have a chance to participate in a survey that will come out at the end of September so that we can hear from the community as well.” 

The study is scheduled to be completed and made available to the public in December 2020.