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Squamish gains more affordable housing

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Squamish’s affordable housing stock got a little bigger this week, as developments approved by the district presented new contributions.

Michael Hutchinson of Bethal Development appeared for third reading of a zoning amendment. Called The Elements, his project is planned for the area near Government and No Name Roads. The whole project consists of 15 units. Hutchinson has offered 1.2 units to the district — which is the sought after eight per cent — at 65 per cent of market rate.

One unit will be offered in full, while the remaining .2 will take the form of a cash contribution.

The units are currently selling between $405,000 and $409,000, according to district literature. The affordable housing unit will go for $265,850. The units are 1,440 square feet.

Further, third reading was also given to a 65-unit development downtown on Bailey Street. This development, spearheaded by Westmana Development Corporation, will elevate the district’s affordable housing stock by a further six units.

Both companies had to apply for zoning amendments, a process that opens up affordable housing dialogue between the district and developers.

In the absence of an adopted affordable housing policy, district staff engages developers on a case-by-case basis. The idea is to get eight per cent of total units available at 65 per cent of the market rate. In some situations, cash contributions are given in lieu of actual units. Hudson House on Second Avenue, for example, offered $800 per door.

District staff has been taking this approach for about a year and a half.

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