You Are Here: Home » Opinion » Editorial » Op-ed: A closer look at the housing gap

Op-ed: A closer look at the housing gap

Peter Shokeir | editor@fitzhugh.ca

It’s no secret that Jasper has a housing shortage.

The Municipality of Jasper estimated that Jasper had a housing gap of roughly 687 units, and this gap is expected to grow to 980 units by 2042.

The municipality is now considering multiple delivery options for supplying more housing.

A consulting firm, Colliers, recommended to council earlier this month that Jasper funds and develops housing, while private sector partners guarantee occupancy.

What was glossed over in this meeting was why exactly this housing gap existed to begin with and why the private sector wasn’t able to supply housing on its own.

The simple fact is Jasper has a shortage of land to build on due to being surrounded by protected area.

Parks Canada is also responsible for land-use planning, rather than the municipality, resulting in a nightmare of regulations and bureaucracy that discourages any development and delays projects for months if not years.

Some of the existing rules further impede the development of more housing.

A height restriction, for example, keeps taller apartments from being created.

It could be argued that because private investment is discouraged by all these intractable issues, government involvement is necessary to address this shortage.

Nevertheless, any public-lead initiative will face many of the same challenges that a private developer would.

And is it really an efficient use of public funds to build more housing when the private sector would be more than willing to do it if the hurdles were cleared away?

Jasper may be one step closer to this as the municipality and Parks Canada have agreed to co-review the governance agreement.

One can only hope this proves fruitful.

Otherwise, a more expensive solution for taxpayers could be coming down the pipe.

It’s time. Support your local media.

In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Fitzhugh is now soliciting donations from readers. This program is designed to support our local journalism in a time where our advertisers are unable to due to their own economic constraints. Fitzhugh has always been a free product and will continue to be free. This is a means for those who can afford to support local media to help ensure those who can’t afford to can get access to trusted local information. You can make a one-time or a monthly donation of any amount and cancel at any time.

Click on https://support.fitzhugh.ca for more information or to make your donation.

Thank you in advance for your support.

© Jasper's Independent Newspaper - Powered by Aberdeen Publishing                                                                                           Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

Scroll to top