An Affordable Housing Task Force, formed by Town Council, had their first official meeting on Wednesday this past week.

The task force was formed in response to Okotoks' growing and aging population, which has created a need for the current housing situation to be examined due to shortages in areas, such as; high density housing for rental purposes or families looking to down- size.

In past years, planning was put in place for a population threshold, which has been surpassed and needs to be reviewed and revised to meet the current needs of the community and the diversity of its residents.

The town's Chief Administrative Officer, Elaine Vincent, and Cody Krause, Affordable Housing Consultant for the CMHC, were on hand to offer statistics, information and help formulate a plan going forward.

The project will be a two-year venture and will examine the current housing, local needs and how to plan for future developments to accommodate the changing population while maintaining Okotoks' distinctive character and identity.

The purpose of the task force is to examine affordable housing options. Managing community growth is a priority for the town and this hand-picked task force will provide council with advice, ideas and strategies based on research and development planning.

Community growth in innovative neighborhoods that embrace complete design, including diversified housing options for all lifestyles and stages of life, is what the town and the task force hope to achieve through this project.

The rental market, in particular, will be a priority due to the low vacancy as a result of only sixteen per cent housing stock, compared to the 27 per cent Canada wide.

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