Giacca will work with city staff to examine how the MicroHome Initiative may move forward. (Revelstoke Community Housing Society)

Revelstoke City staff set to examine Microhome Initiative

After some debate over wording, Revelstoke City Council sign letter to support MicroHome Initiative

Adrian Giacca presented his MicroHome initiative to city council on Tuesday, generating debate amongst councillors and a signed letter of “support.”

Giacca has been the voice of the MicroHome initiative since he arrived in Revelstoke in 2018. What started as a simple survey has grown into a burgeoning project. His initiative was picked up by the Revelstoke Community Housing Society. Recently, Giacca had the opportunity to officially present his initiative before the city council, whose reactions were positive but remained non-committal.

“It felt good when I had some time to think about it,” said Giacca of the city council meeting on Tuesday.

Giacca’s presentation to the council was just one aspect of the MicroHome subject for the meeting.

The first part was to examine the possibility of donating a portion of city land that has been reserved for affordable housing, which Counc. Michael Brooks-Hill — a director with Revelstoke Community Housing Society — said was a vital step in ensuring support for the project from other sources.

“A lot of BC Housing — and I think it’s the same with CMHC — if they’re looking to fund a project in a municipality, they want to see that the municipality supports it. And generally, having land donated, or being offered in some fashion, is the support they want to see,” said Brooks-Hill.

Brooks-Hill continued, saying “it’s very hard to get funding without land.”

Counc. Rob Elliott questioned the viability of the project as a completely private endeavour, without public funds or land donation.

“Certainly, this could be an approach to take,” Giacca said. “But as you purchase land, and you purchase the building of housing, and you purchase and purchase and purchase, it continues to increase the cost of construction,” which defeats the goal of the MicroHome initiative to be affordable.

One of the voices that stood out in the meeting was interim chief administrative officer (CAO) Evan Parliament, who helped summarize Giacca’s request as trying to include the municipality in the project, so that they can effectively leverage other parties to get the funding and work done.

“I think it’s got some merit, and staff are definitely going to look into it,” said Parliament.

Giacca felt that the result of the meeting was positive.

“I feel like we’re at a crucial point in this process, where now because of this result at the council meeting, I’m able to use that to invite community members to participate,” said Giacca.

The second part of the MicroHome subject in council had actually been submitted more than six months earlier.

The Revelstoke Community Housing Society and Giacca had asked the city council to sign a land in principle letter in January, which was tabled until the Housing Action Plan (HAP) was completed. With the HAP finalized in a previous meeting, council was once again tasked with addressing the letter. A letter for land in principle is informal and legally non-binding. CAO Parliament likened it to a letter of intent.

After a discussion of the wording of the letter from a letter of “intent” to a letter of “support,” the council voted unanimously to sign it.

Pleased with the overall outcome, Giacca still expressed concern about the length of the process to sign the letter.

“If we continue to delay and delay and delay, we’re going to fall into the pattern that Revelstoke has of taking way too long to complete the important things our community needs,” said Giacca.

With the letter signed by the council, and a similar letter of support signed by Member of Parliament Rob Morrison, Giacca looks forward to working with staff on moving the project forward.

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@ZacharyDelaney
zach.delaney@revelstokereview.com

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affordable housingCity CouncilRevelstoke