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WHAT DOES THE OCP (1997) SAY ABOUT “HOUSING AFFORDABILITY” OR “ATTAINABILITY”?

Affordability is addressed in the OCP through policy that supports an increase in residential density on the island, without subdivision, and only when it is specifically for affordable housing for special needs residents and seniors (Section 2.k).

The OCP contains a general residential policy to support a mix of housing types which includes:

  1. affordable and market housing in appropriate locations. (Section 2.1(5))
  2. “multiple-dwelling affordable housing” is defined as three or more residential dwelling units on a parcel restricted to affordable housing as defined by this Plan and governed by a housing agreement.
  3. “Multi-dwelling residential use” is intended to be reserved for affordable housing units only which includes the following categories:
    • Special Needs residents living with physical and / or mental disabilities
    • Seniors 60 years of age or older; and
    • Low-income families.

Affordable housing is defined in the OCP to mean housing that costs no more than 30% of a household’s gross income applied to those households with incomes at or below 60% of the median household income for Gabriola Island (using Canada Census information). The OCP states that affordable housing should be in a location which is accessible to appropriate services and acceptable to the overall community without compromising protection of the natural environment and while minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.

Densities for the creation of Multi-dwelling Affordable Housing for low-income families are to come only from banked densities as noted in Appendix 2 (Density Bank) of the Plan.

Multi-dwelling Affordable Housing developments with mixes of special needs residents, seniors and low-income families are encouraged. No market housing is included in this mix for multi-dwelling developments. It is now understood that the mix of affordable and market options may be required by funders and may be necessary to the financial viability of the project.

The term ‘attainability’ is not captured in the 1997 Gabriola OCP and was not commonly understood at that time; however, the term ‘attainable housing’ is used to describe the ability of households to choose to enter, and graduate to  higher levels of, the local housing market. Attainability is the idea that a range of housing options (type, size, tenure, cost) exists in the local market. Households at various income levels can find and secure (attain) suitable housing and can ultimately advance to a different level if they choose (Source: Belleville Report).