District of Kent Municipal Hall (Adam Louis/Observer)

District of Kent Municipal Hall (Adam Louis/Observer)

Kent Council examines housing issues, future prospects

Urban Matters presented a housing study to District of Kent council on Monday

Average home sale prices have nearly doubled for in-demand, single-detached homes in the District of Kent, Urban Matters told the district council during its most recent meeting.

The district looked to the developing advisory company to assess the district’s housing needs and identify possible gaps in the housing supply.

Urban Matters found the district’s population grew by about 12 per cent between 2006 and 2016; should this growth continue, the community will see approximately 500 new households built between 2016 and 2025. Compared to other municipalities in the Fraser Valley Regional District, there are more couples without children and on-census families according to 2016 numbers.

RELATED: CELEBRATING 125: District of Kent Council revisits 1895

As of 2020, there are 71 purpose-built rental units in the District of Kent, and this number hasn’t gone up in the past 10 years. However, the number of rental homes is growing at a faster rate than owned residences.

Nine people were counted in the Agassiz-Harrison homeless count. Couch surfing and living in cars was more common than visible homelessness in the area. Several households, however, are at risk of homelessness due to low income.

Editor’s Note: The Housing needs Assessment will undergo a more in-depth look in a future edition of the Observer

In other council business, the district announced the first annual Winter Night Lights, scheduled to run Dec. 1 to 28. Pioneer Park, the Agassiz-Harrison Museum and participating businesses along Pioneer Avenue will be lit up with holiday season lights to commemorate the 125th anniversary of the District of Kent. Participating businesses will host pop-up promotions Fridays and Saturdays from Dec. 4 to Dec. 19.

Residents and their immediate households can check out the display, and COVID-19 safety measures are required.

Coun. Susan Spaeti reported that local COVID testing sites are now offering the “gargle tests” to adults as opposed to the swab that would be pushed deep into the nasal passages. Testing info is available at Fraserhealth.ca or by contacting your family doctor.

Coun. Spaeti stressed the importance of keeping connected with family, friends and neighbours via phone or online means.

RELATED: Kent council considers sign repairs, public art

“Just because we are physically maintaining our distance, it doesn’t mean we need to cut off all social interactions,” she added.

Mayor Sylvia Pranger reminded the public to continue wearing masks in all public spaces indoors and to continue with other COVID-related protocols.

“Thank you to all the residents of the district who have stepped up to the plate to do their part to help try to bend the curve back down,” Mayor Pranger stated. “Stay safe, be kind and shop local.”

The council approved awarding Northwest Hydraulic Consultants a $110,000 contract for flood risk assessment and mitigation planning related to the Fraser and Harrison rivers. Coun. Spaeti excluded herself from the vote.

The money would come from a $143,000 flood risk assessment grant, according to director of engineering services Mick Thiessen. The remaining $33,000 from grant funding may be used for further engineering services.

Council approved $111,000 for a new two-ton truck with a plow, dump box and dual rear wheels. While its immediate main focus will be snow and ice control, it would also be used for hauling materials, towing trailers and patching potholes, for example.

Tickets for the district’s Holiday Raffle are on sale and can be purchased at the museum or from any of the Agassiz-Harrison Historical Society directors. First prize is a side of beef, second a one-night stay at the Sasquatch Inn for two plus a $50 gift certificate and third prize being an evening for two gift basket. For more information, contact the museum at 604-796-3545 or agassizharrisonmuseum@shawbiz.ca.

The next District of Kent Council meeting is scheduled for November 9 at 7 p.m. at Municipal Hall. Please remember COVID-19 restrictions are in place and prepare accordingly.

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