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Alberni Valley Housing Needs Reports

As part of the ACRD Housing Needs Reports (HNRs) project, five HNRs for the four Alberni Valley Electoral Areas (Beaufort, Sproat Lake, Beaver Creek, and Cherry Creek), and an overall Alberni Valley Electoral Areas summary report, were developed between November 2020 and October 2021 by a project team of staff from the ACRD and RFT Planning and GIS Services, with input from various community members, organizations and agencies. Initial community engagement was completed in collaboration with the City of Port Alberni, as part of the development of their Housing Needs Assessment and Report.
Alberni Valley Electoral Area Housing Needs Reports (HNRs)
Overview
Safe, affordable, and inclusive housing is an important component of a complete community and contributes to societal and individual well-being. Development of the Alberni Valley HNRs was completed through quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, and a number of community engagement initiatives, including: a public Alberni Valley housing needs survey, a public online community forum, a stakeholder engagement survey, an online stakeholder focus group meeting, a presentation and discussion with the Alberni Clayoquot Health Network, a joint Advisory Planning Commission meeting with the four Alberni Valley Electoral Areas, and many one-on-one conversations through email, phone and other virtual methods.

Data analysis and community input revealed a number of key data findings and housing issues that are included throughout the HNRs. The HNRs identify what kind of housing is most needed in the Alberni Valley over the next five years, to ensure that local plans, policies, and development decisions can reflect these needs. The anticipated updates to EA Official Community Plans (OCPs), and current ACRD Zoning Bylaw Review, are examples of important documents with policies that will be informed by the results of the HNRs.

Recommendations
Five key recommendations emerged through the HNR process that correspond directly with the key findings identified. They are applicable across all Alberni Valley Electoral Areas (EAs) and provide a higher level approach to address the housing gaps anticipated for the next five years and beyond in the Alberni Valley, as well as across the ACRD. While there are similar challenges and opportunities across the region, each of the Alberni Valley EAs continue to experience a unique set of housing challenges. Recommendations for approaches to address the housing gap in each of the EAs for the next five years and beyond are included in the individual EA HNRs.

Recommendations for approaches to address the housing gap across the Alberni Valley for the next five years and beyond include:

  • Formulate regional policy options to address current and future housing needs, and incorporate policies into future updates of Electoral Area Official Community Plans.
  • Strengthen policies and regulations to improve housing affordability and availability, with a focus on a variety of housing types for all stages in life.
  • Develop and strengthen partnerships to improve collaboration, advocacy, and education around housing needs and gaps.
  • Consider creating a housing strategy and action plan that outlines funding opportunities, housing targets and tools to incentivize housing and address housing needs in the region.
  • Complete ongoing monitoring of regional housing supply and demand to adapt to evolving housing needs in the region over time.
These HNRs are intended to be used by the community and the ACRD as well as other community stakeholders, in the planning and provision of housing, including informing local plans, policies, and development decisions. Housing data will also be used as comparison in future HNRs over the next five years.

The HNRs are also intended to provide information to local housing stakeholders to gain a better understanding of the local context and support decision-making around housing. The Alberni Valley is facing increased levels of development interest in response to changing socioeconomic conditions and regional housing market dynamics. Continued and future collaboration with all Alberni Valley community members, agencies, First Nations, and the City of Port Alberni will assist to align community goals with housing needed to address demographic change and population growth in the region.

Please contact the the ACRD Planning Department at 250-720-2700 or planning@acrd.bc.ca if you have any questions or comments.