The first project through the Northern Housing Incentive program was completed in August 2020. The funding program, along with two other housing programs, was launched in April 2019 and received its first application four months later from the City of Williams Lake. The recently finalized project saw the development of four self-contained units which adds to the much-needed local housing stock.
“We are serious about getting housing development happening and are putting a lot of effort into creating the conditions necessary for developers to join us in creating solutions,” said Mayor Walt Cobb, Williams Lake. “There is always going to be a good market for single family housing, but we are really focused on how to maximize the little land that we have available in the City to house as many people as possible. This program from Northern Development is a really good reason for developers to look at projects a little differently then they are used to, and that is with density in mind.”
The successful application to the Northern Housing Incentive program allowed the City of Williams Lake to create a “Dollars to the Door” program. They received a $40,000 grant ($10,000 for each unit), which was passed along to the developer, providing them with additional income from the completing the dwellings.
“This program was the tipping point that encouraged us to proceed with the build,” said Tyler Boucher, co-owner, 3Gen Construction. “Knowing that we would receive the funds after the job was completed was reassuring. In addition, this project provided jobs during the winter months to our crew. As a business that has been established in Williams Lake for 14 years, we’re pleased to support our fellow residents by contributing to affordable housing and our local government’s effort to increase the density of housing within the city.”
As the first local government to be approved for funding through the Northern Housing Incentive program, the City of Williams Lake was pleased to have a small-scale project to ensure that their processes for working with the developer worked efficiently. Moving forward, the City of Williams Lake looks forward to promoting the program to support the businesses that are capable of expanding housing options for existing and potential residents.
“Programs like this give us more tools in the kit when we are working with the development community,” explained Beth Veenkamp, economic development officer, City of Williams Lake. “We are taking a very pro-active approach to increasing our available housing in Williams Lake, and being able to provide information on a range of incentives available to developers helps to move ideas into reality.”
Since launching the trio of housing programs in April 2019, Northern Development has committed more than $400,000 to communities in its service region, including 18 projects through the Housing Needs Assessment program. Learn more about the Trust’s housing programs at northerndevelopment.bc.ca/funding-programs/housing-programs/.
The City of Williams Lake is the first successful applicant to Northern Development's Northern Housing Incentive grant which encouraged 3Gen Construction to build four new homes - knowing they would receive $40,000 upon the project's completion.