“There is little policy guidance that recognizes the need for employee housing, what employee housing is or how it can be provided,” says Blue Mountain official

Blue Mountain Resort President and COO Dan Skelton is calling on the city and county to establish policies specifically for employee housing development.

In a recent letter to the planning staff of the town of The Blue Mountains, Skelton said policies to encourage the development of staff accommodation do not currently exist. As a result, companies like Blue Mountain Resort are on their own when looking for solutions to staff housing shortages.

“Blue Mountain Resort has several active employee housing programs designed to help seasonal employees find housing near the resort. These programs tend to leverage market rental opportunities in a variety of individual properties. In recent discussions with city and county planning staff, it is evident that there are few planning policies that address employee housing as a necessary and distinct land use,” Skelton said in his letter.

“There is little policy guidance that recognizes a need for employee housing, what employee housing is or how it can be provided.”

Skelton suggested it was time for official city and county plans to include specific policies on employee housing.

Specifically, he noted that employee housing should be affordable, accessible, and limited — via municipal bylaw — to employee occupancy only.

Skelton presented ideas such as discounts for the construction of employee housing and specific zoning to define employee housing and identify areas where it would be allowed.

At the council meeting on July 4, the council. Paula Hope referenced Skelton’s letter and said the city would consider such policies as part of its official plan review process.

“This is another area of ​​growth for the city where we would actually be looking at zoning for employee housing, which some would say was a long time coming,” Hope said. “This has been before the official plan review steering committee. This is moving forward and will certainly be considered as part of the recommendations that will be presented. »

At the meeting, council voted to receive the letter and refer it to the Official Plan Review Steering Committee.

Com. Jim Uram said the staff housing issue would be an interesting process.

“It will take a bit of research to try to find the right policy and zoning issues to try to set aside spaces for staff accommodation,” he said.