Habitat for Humanity has moved closer to acquiring a parcel of land in Gibsons for a new affordable housing project.
At Tuesday's community services committee, the committee unanimously passed a motion for council. The motion states: that the committee recommend to council that as a first step to a social/affordable housing strategy for the town of Gibsons that the town transfer disposition of the Headlands Road parcel to Habitat for Humanity, and that attempts be made to preserve the large tree on the lot.
Coun. Kenan MacKenzie suggested the motion, which was seconded by committee member Lee Ann Johnson.
"I'm very pleased and proud to be chairing this committee," said chair Coun. Andrea Goldsmith. "I feel we've set a good example for the other governments to follow. Hopefully this will see a chain reaction. The is not just about social housing or people on welfare; this is an issue we all need to be aware of."
The motion will come forward at Tuesday's council meeting for council approval.
Council will also have four letters of support for the project as part of correspondence on the agenda, which were forwarded by the committee.
The committee recommendation is well timed as a forum on affordable housing is set to take place all day Saturday at the Sechelt Seniors' Activity Centre.
The Town of Gibsons has also been working on an affordable housing strategy. This draft report will be included for discussion at Saturday's forum.
"Three of us were on hand Tuesday for the recommendation. It was a total surprise and a pleasure for us to hear," said Ed Hawkins from Habitat for Humanity Sunshine Coast. "After working for the past 16 months to get Habitat up and running here, all of us at Habitat for Humanity are excited about the prospect of actually being able to have some small effect on the lack of affordable housing on the Coast. One of the greatest things about the upcoming housing forum is that we have two follow-up meetings planned to ensure that something actually happens as a result of the forum. We do need to update and verify the affordable housing situation here and then take action to do something about it."
The process for considering the land for donation to Habitat began with a brief presentation to council on June 1, 2004. At that time, council referred the matter to the community services committee, which on June 15 passed a resolution directing staff to identify town-owned sites suitable for a Habitat project.
On Nov. 2, council received a presentation from staff, which identified a town-owned parcel on Headlands Road as the most suitable piece of property available. The town also held a public consultation meeting at Harmony Hall on Nov. 30 to get feedback from the public about the request and consideration of the Headlands lot.