Affordable housing experiment ends in Naramata

RDOS voted unanimously to kill a restrictive covenant placed on an 18-unit townhouse development in Naramata.

An experiment in affordable housing in Naramata has come to an end.

The board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen voted unanimously to kill a restrictive covenant placed on an 18-unit townhouse development that artificially held sale prices at 10 per cent below market value.

Wildstone Holdings agreed to the covenant in 2010 during the rezoning process for Naramata Court, but sales of the finished product have been slow. Four units were still unsold as of June, when the developer approached the RDOS to drop the covenant. This prevented company owners from buying the units themselves, which they now intend to keep as rental properties.

Two people spoke against the move at a public hearing in July 8, but Karla Kozakevich, the RDOS director for Naramata, told colleagues at the board meeting that the “pilot project” in affordable housing “definitely was a success in that we have young families in there now” who have helped build enrolment at the community’s school.

Wes Hopkin, the former Penticton city councillor and RDOS director, noted “affordable housing is not an easy fix.”

“If there was a quick fix for affordable housing, some jurisdiction somewhere would have ended homelessness, would have ended poverty,” he said.