Telkwa losing its legacy of being affordable

Results of housing survey shows need for more affordable family homes

There’s been a change in the real estate market in Telkwa. The community once known to be affordable is slowly starting to see prices rise, according to a new report on housing in the village.

The housing survey results were presented by Alison Watson of Watson Projects to council at its regular meeting June 23 with some surprising results.

Eighty people responded to the survey, but the report also included interviews with developers, real estate agents and other stakeholders.

“They [real estate agents] are seeing housing prices in Telkwa now going for what they never thought they’d go for,” Watson told councillors. “Moving past the legacy of being an affordable community into the future will be tricky.”

Watson outlined the four key needs the report discovered. The first was the need for more affordable family homes.

“From the data, we know Telkwa has more families than other communities in the area and more children. The percentage of children under 12 is higher than other communities in the region, but especially in the last couple of years there has been constraint… in available lots to build on and single-family homes for purchase,” she said. “Having more lots and homes on the market in the future will build on what Telkwa is good at and known for, affordable homes for families and first-time buyers as well as long term residents wanting to continue to live in the community.”

The second need was for smaller home options because 57 per cent of households in Telkwa have one or two people. Most of the housing stock is single-family homes with three-plus bedrooms.

“Looking forward to start thinking about smaller home options for people looking to downsize, for empty nesters, seniors, and this would, in turn, free up the larger homes for families so it all works together,” she added.

There is also a growing senior demographic in Telkwa so the third need outlined in the report was for seniors housing.

“Over the last ten years, seniors aged 65 plus have increased over 80 per cent. This is a huge demographic switch that will continue. Senior housing options… there are some, but they are full with waitlists,” Watson said.

The fourth housing need was for more affordable rentals.

“There is a big divide in rental affordability and homeowners,” she said. “Right now, one in five renters, or 20 per cent, spend over 30 per cent of their income on housing, which is the bar for affordability. Whereas owners, seven per cent of all owners spend over that threshold. So, yeah, for Telkwa, it is affordable for homeownership but not renters.”

The purpose of the report was to understand current and future housing needs in the community and be a resource to support Telkwa in responding to its housing needs. It was also required to be done. Provincial legislation now requires all local governments to complete a report by April 2022 and every five years after that.

“This is the start of a story that will shift and evolve based on future data collection and recording years,” added Watson.

While this is the first housing needs report, there was a similar one done in 2011 that just focused on affordable housing. Watson said there was a much better response to this survey than for the previous one.

The report will also help Telkwa and its stakeholders apply for grants including the NDIT (Northern Development Initiative Trust Dollars to Door Program.

“This report is a prerequisite to apply for it,” said Watson. “That is a cashback to the development community for developing multi-family homes. You are ahead of the curve, being one fo the first communities to get their housing report done.”

Watson said this report can also help with discussions with Telkwa Coal.

“Use this information to strengthen your case to say industry can come to the table with their plans for housing,” she advised.

Telkwa

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Witset in lockdown following three confirmed COVID-19 cases

Band office, health centre and KWES facilities closed until further notice

Meet the 10-year-old girl who grew a pineapple in northern B.C.

Emily Atkins discovers it takes a lot of patience to grow tropical fruit in a temperate climate

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

UPDATE: Search continues for Thomas (Tommy) Dennis missing from near Kitwanga

Tommy Dennis was last seen Sept 16 wearing blue jeans, black cap, rubber boots, grey checked sweater

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

Most Read