The challenge of meeting future housing demands in Burns Lake

Burns Lake's official community plan estimates that the village may need to be prepared to accommodate a total of 83 housing units by 2025.

Utilizing projected population growth rates, Burns Lake’s official community plan (OCP) estimates that the village may need to be prepared to accommodate a total of 83 housing units by 2025.

This would include 54 single-detached houses, five movable homes, six detached dwelling/duplex and 18 row houses/apartments.

During a Burns Lake council meeting last week, councillors expressed concern with the current lack of available housing in Burns Lake. On average, since 2011, there has been one new dwelling built per year in Burns Lake.

The OCP notes that the rental vacancy rate in Burns Lake has been consistently low, saying the most immediate need in the community is for rental housing and seniors options.

In June 2016, an inventory of existing residential parcels within the village was undertaken. The inventory found 66 vacant parcels that could be relatively easily developed for residential purposes.

Should housing demand and property values increase, it is estimated that 50 per cent of the vacant residential parcels in Burns Lake would be made available for development, providing approximately 33 new dwelling units.

“It is expected that the higher the demand and land values, the more parcels will be sold for development,” says the OCP draft. “It is anticipated that sustained low vacancy rates and an increase in property values will eventually result in private sector investment in new residential development.”

The OCP identifies a possible shortage of land in Burns Lake over the next 20 years only if the village owned land is not available for any residential development.

“This is not perceived to be an immediate concern, given other vacant residential development sites, potential for infill residential and higher density development.”

Lakes District News contacted local real estate agents to comment on the anticipated housing demand, but they did not respond by press time.

The OCP is a document that sets out the general guidelines for the orderly growth and development of the Village of Burns Lake. The plan is reviewed every five to 10 years and its policies provide a basis for rational decision making on matters related to needs of the Burns Lake citizens.

The village plans to hold an open house in September so that community members can review the latest OCP draft. The OCP is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.


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