Kimberley City Council has approved the release of Covenant KP22792 from a unit in Kimberley Ridge. This has allowed the unit to be sold to a purchaser who doesn’t wish to rent the unit out, but rather live in it year-round.
At a Council Meeting on Monday, March 14, Council discussed the motion to approve the release before voting four to three in favour of releasing the Covenant.
There was also a second motion to direct staff to draft a bylaw that would allow an officer or employee to authorize the release of future units. Council voted to defer the motion, as they first wish to receive more information from Manager of Planning Services Troy Pollock, who was not present at Monday’s meeting.
Some of Council’s concerns with both motions revolved around ‘protecting’ the core area, in other words, keeping Kimberley Ridge as rental units.
“One of the things that we’ve had discussions around is the core village there, to be careful and cautious,” said Councillor Darryl Oakley.
City CAO Scott Sommerville pointed out that this is not the first Covenant to be released, he says there have been around 12 in the past, however it is the first in that location.
Mayor Don McCormick spoke on Pollock’s behalf, saying that inventory is not currently in danger.
Councillor Albert Hoglund says he has similar concerns to that of Councillor Oakley, and that once they release one Kimberley Ridge unit they “won’t be able to say no to anyone” in similar, future situations.
“I think we’re going on a bad route if we start to allow the release of these in the village core,” said Holgund. “Those are the main rentals up there; I think we are going in the wrong direction.”
Councillor Oakley responded saying that he could “lean either way”, however more information is required.
“If we start to do this, I am just curious what the reaction will be,” said Oakley. “Is this just the reality, that people actually want to live in these units year-round and they don’t want to rent them out? If there is a shortage of rentals, will that trigger more accommodation to be built? Which is not necessarily a bad thing…I guess what I would like to see is more analysis.”
The Covenant on those units is “double coverage”, says McCormick, and the Bylaw in place is sufficient to ensure that the units in that building would continue to be part of the rental pool.
“The fact of the matter is we’ve got a bit of a housing crisis in town and there’s not an awful lot for sale,” McCormick said. “People are wanting to move to town and if the condominiums are the only thing that they have available, we need to have a method for people to be able to buy housing.”
He added that in recent conversations with the accommodators at the hill, it was made clear that there aren’t any concerns with inventory at this time.
“That isn’t to say things won’t change in the future, but at this point in time they have not expressed any concern,” said McCormick.
Councillor Sandra Roberts says that releasing this particular Convenant could perhaps set a precedent for future scenarios. She voted against the motion.
Council will continue to discuss the deferred motion at a meeting in the near future.