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VIDEO: Pushback over Kelowna's inclusion on provincial housing naughty list

When the province made a new list of 20 BC communities which need to build more housing, Kelowna was included.

And it was a tough pill to swallow over at city hall.

"It's not something we're really excited about," said city manager Doug Gilchrist.

"Because we think, we know, we're doing a really great job."

Kelowna, which has seen a flood of new housing projects move ahead, sees itself as an example for other cities to follow.

"Some of the housing legislation that has come out recently is actually modelled after certain things that we've done here in Kelowna," said Gilchrist.

The housing ministry said the 20 priority communities listed were selected because they “are in high-growth, high-need” regions.

The message, from a Kelowna perspective, is mixed.

The city's presence on the new list means the province will be providing targets and seeing that we meet them.

But at the same time, Kelowna is mentioned along with North Vancouver and New Westminster as communities that have responded well to new housing aimed at fast-tracking the construction of new housing.

Gilchrist doesn't see it as being a naughty list.

"I think we are a model, still, as seen by the province," he said.

The list isn't expected to change things much, but it's a signal province will step up the pressure to do more.

"The province is going to work with us on setting probably even greater targets than there are today," explained Gilchrist.

However, he points out that municipalities are just one part of the process, pointing out that sometimes provincial approvals can stall a development.

He adds that subsidized or below-market housing is primarily a provincial responsibility.

And he explains infrastructure costs are another issue.

"We have been saying for a long time," explained Gilchrist, 'there needs to be a stable, reliable source of capital funding and I think that's both federal and provincial."

All of that is expected to be up for discussion when the province reveals exactly what its targets might be for Kelowna.

That's expected to come in June.



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