The Town of Creston will give tax relief to anyone will to build new rental housing.
“Council recognizes that our community is experiencing a growing need for affordable housing stock, specifically, rental properties,” Mayor Ron Toyota said in a news release.
“We know that affordable housing is a multi-faceted issue. Although there may not be a single perfect solution, our intent with the establishment of a residential tax exemption is to develop a mechanism to incentivize developing rental housing, thereby addressing one component of affordable housing.”
Toyota says they are looking at providing 100 per cent relief for five years. To be eligible, new units must be built and the owner must enter into a housing agreement, securing the units as rentals for 10 to 15 years. The agreements may be with the town or BC Housing, depending on the development.
Previously, the town has used tax exemptions to lure development, most notably the Ramada Inn, which was provided with a 10-year exemption, which was 100 per cent for the first five years and 50 per cent for the next five years, which is nearing its end. Afterward, the hotel will pay full property taxes.
In 2020, the Regional District of Central Kootenay published a regional housing needs assessment, which estimated that the number of “unaffordable” homes in Creston grew by about 30 per cent from 2006 to 2016. About one-quarter of Creston residents live in rentals.