(Google Maps)

Harrison housing market, needs might not match up: council

Harrison’s housing needs assessment will be used to develop a new OCP next year

At least one Harrison councillor feels the community’s projected housing need and what developers will be willing to build might not match up.

During council Monday night (Dec. 2), councillor Gerry Palmer brought up his thoughts on Harrison’s new housing needs assessment, which looked at statistics on the village’s homes and residents to create a community profile and some suggestions for the future. In the assessment, it indicated one- and two-bedroom homes would be the area of greatest housing need in the next five years.

RELATED: Most Harrison rental housing unaffordable: report

“It would suggest we don’t need three-bedroom units, and I see that, but I also suspect that if someone were building, it would be the three-bedroom units the market would snap up,” Palmer said. “We’re an unusual community, because so much of our stock is purchased by part-time residents.

“When you look at what we appear to need for housing and what the market may build and what the market may actually take up in Harrison, there is potentially quite a gap.”

According to the assessment, just over 70 per cent of the residential properties in Harrison are three-bedrooms or more — and as all the housing starts in the last two years have been snapped up by buyers, Palmer said that may be the direction the market is trending.

The report “seems to indicate we’ve had a bit of a falling population, and I found that interesting,” Palmer said. “Our buildings are going up but our population is falling, which means a lot of our new stock has been purchased by part-time residents — or that a lot of our new stock has been built after statistics were available.”

How many homes are in use by part-time owners also came up during question period following Monday’s meeting — and the short answer is there is no way of knowing.

Because Harrison is a resort municipality, a number of the residents do not live in the village full-time. Although the housing needs assessment identified about 200 homes as “vacant” — or at least, not matching with the number of census households in Harrison — the assumption is those would be lived in by part-time residents.

However, others may list Harrison as their primary residence and be included in census data for the village, yet be snowbirds during the winter or have homes in other municipalities.

“It’s a mixed bag of part-time residents who could identify as part of census data and be snowbirds, or people who have secondary residences in Harrison and have primary residences somewhere else,” CAO Madeline McDonald said. “Where people identify their primary residence doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a full-time resident here.”

RELATED: Some Harrison Hot Springs residents left wondering what crack down on short-term rentals will mean to their business

Councillors also discussed senior residents during their examination of the housing needs report; another area of future need identified by the assessment.

“I certainly have heard from some residents about how they view a need for some kind of more seniors’ housing, in conjunction with accessibility to medical appointments and other amenities,” councillor Michie Vidal said. “I’m looking forward to using this as a tool when we come next year to reviewing our OCP.”

Council accepted the housing needs assessment for receipt during Monday night’s meeting, and will be using it to inform future discussions around the village’s OCP, which is set to be updated in 2020.

RELATED: Harrison to begin review of official community plan in 2020


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Child falls down Bridal Veil Falls near Chilliwack, crews on scene

An 11-year-old boy fell over the falls about 25 to 30 feet and has suffered a head injury

LETTER: Thank you, OK Tire Agassiz!

Roger Bjaanes of Harrison Hot Springs applauds some great customer service

LETTER: An unforgettable birthday

Grace Storteboom of Agassiz thanks everyone for an amazing birthday

Seabird Island community to recieve $2.1 million for community centre

Provincial, federal funding will contribute to local undertaking

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Four-vehicle collision snarls eastbound highway traffic in Fraser Valley

Collision west of Lickman Road on Highway 1 includes three vehicles plus motorcycle

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read