Skyrocketing home prices mean fewer rental suites available 

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"We can’t simply build our way out," said Wake.

With that in mind several options are being looked at:

• Continuing to require employee restricted suites in new single family neighbourhoods, such as Spring Creek.

• Providing a density bonus so that those who provide a suite aren’t penalized on the square footage of their home.

• Zoning changes so that a buyer could subdivide a single-dwelling home into suites. That way a local could afford to buy a home because the rental income would help pay the mortgage.

• The WHA, with a commercial partner, could take over deteriorating residential complexes fix them up and turn them into employee restricted housing.

Requiring suites in new homes is a great idea, said Wake, but it has to be sold to the buyer of the home, many of whom don’t need the income.

One way to achieve that is to remind them that one of the main reasons they bought in the resort was because "it feels so good," said Wake.

"That dynamic cannot be understated," he said.

"The challenge is how do we instil in these new owners the idea that preserving the community is in their best interests.

"So the negotiation becomes about how we help owners get a great local tenant to help them out when it is not about the money."

As the WHA tackles this issue it is also moving into a new phase of its operations.

For the last several years, said Wake, the focus has been on building affordable housing.

But now the authority must manage, maintain and optimize the homes it has created as well as search for new sustainable options to continue to create housing for future locals.

"We are now shifting gears into the operating stage," said Wake.

In 1997 the WHA assumed the management of the $6.5 million Housing Fund from a charge levied on developers of commercial property.

Over the years that $6.5 million has been used to borrow more money and turned into $20 million in housing investment, all in long term rental properties.

The Overview 2002 reports states: "The rental revenue generated by the WHA housing projects covers the operating expenses, mortgage payments, administrative costs, and replacement reserves associated with each, thereby ensuring their long-term financial viability and sustainability."

There is no doubt the $20 million in housing investment would be worth at least twice as much on the open market.

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