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District of Squamish receives $7M from federal government

MP Patrick Weiler announced the funding with Squamish officials on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at Municipal Hall. 

The federal government announced an agreement with the District of Squamish that aims to build more housing in town in the coming years.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23 at Squamish Municipal Hall, MP of West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country, Patrick Weiler, announced funding of $7 million from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Housing Accelerator Fund that aims to help the District build 200 housing units over the next three years and help spur the construction of over 1,350 homes over the next decade.

The announcement came on behalf of Sean Fraser, the federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities.

“Business as usual will not solve the drastic housing challenges that we face today, so we need systemic change,” said Weiler. “In Squamish, the systemic change looks like accelerating the development of affordable housing and non market housing units by reducing procedural and process barriers. It's allowing increased density and more homes along core transit networks by introducing zoning permissions for six units on single lots.”

Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford said the District was grateful for the funding that will allow the municipality to increase the housing supply, particularly  the so-called missing middle housing and units for low to moderate income households.

“It's encouraging to see our governments come together and bring more affordable and diverse housing options to Squamish so that our residents can thrive,” he said. 

Sarah Ellis, the executive director of Housing Squamish, also welcomed the commitment from the federal government.

“We know that the road is long and made up of incremental actions. But over time, these will add up to major shifts in the way we plan for, fund and build critical housing for our community,” she said. “As part of the many actions set out in the District of Squamish Housing Accelerator Fund Action Plan, this unprecedented commitment from the federal government will support Housing Squamish in our mission to deliver housing over the next 10 years.”

A few other aspects in the District’s action plan, which were outlined in the news release of the announcement, included the “development of affordable homes on municipally owned land” and “infrastructure and amenity planning for complete communities.”

Notably, Housing Squamish recently applied for a separate BC Housing grant to look into an affordable housing project on a District-owned lot on Government Road.

“It's great to receive support from the federal government on our initiatives,” said Hurford. “As MP Weiler mentioned in his comments, it's recognized that Squamish has been a leader both in growth and in progressive housing policies.”

Ellis noted the District’s 2023 Housing Needs Report, which estimates that an additional 6,840 housing units will be required by 2031, of which 2,873 (or 42%) will need to be affordable to those households earning $70,000 or less per year. A separate District news release notes the housing needs are estimated to be a total of 9,600 units by 2036.

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