The Whitehorse housing market could see another 20 units added thanks to a development planned by the Champagne and Aishihik First Nation.
At Whitehorse city council’s June 22 meeting, the city’s subdivision and land coordinator Kinden Kosick brought forward a recommendation that council approve the housing development incentive agreement with the First Nation.
The project would see a townhouse development – with five buildings in total – built at 195 Olive May Way in Whistle Bend with a variety of one, two and three bedroom units.
As Kosick told council: “This development meets the criteria for the rental and supportive housing development incentive under the policy and administration is bringing a housing development incentive agreement forward for council approval.”
The policy is in place to encourage the development of smaller, denser housing in targeted areas as well as adding to the city’s rental and supportive housing stock.
“Developments that meet the specified criteria are eligible for a reduction of development cost charges, a yearly monetary grant from the city, or both,” Kosick said. “The value of the grant would be based on the increase in taxation due to the improvements on the property.”
Under the policy for the incentive, rental and supportive housing incentives grant eligible developers a reduction of the development cost charges and a 10-year economic development incentive to a maximum of $500,000 through the incentive agreement.
“Implementation is through a grant to the property owner after taxes have been paid in full,” Kosick said.
Under the agreement, the units would be required to remain as rentals for a minimum of 10 years, or the developer would be required to pay back any grant amounts already provided. The agreement also makes it clear the units cannot be used as short-term rentals.
During council discussion on the proposed agreement, Coun. Steve Roddick highlighted the 10-year requirement, noting that some of the first recipients of the incentive would soon be approaching that 10-year mark and wondering if the time frame is still working for the city.
Kosick acknowledged the potential for owners to sell off rental units is there after the 10-year mark, but also pointed out without a grant in perpetuity to keep the units as rentals the city is limited in what it can do.
The city continues to work to improve its policies, he added.
Council will vote June 28 on the proposed incentive agreement with the First Nation.
On June 25, it was announced the federal government would contribute $6 million to the project through it’s Rapid Housing Initiative.
It’s part of a larger $12.8 million for four projects in the territory. Along with the 20 units being built at 195 Olive May Way, a total of $2.4 million will go toward 10 single detached homes in Carcross through a Carcross/Tagish First Nation; $3 million will go to three new triplex buildings (with three units each) to be developed by Yukon Housing in Whitehorse, Mayo and Watson Lake; and $1.3 million will go toward the development of 11 mobile homes for the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council in Whitehorse.
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