Saanich council plans to open a dialogue about the need for more on-campus student housing.
In a unanimous vote at the Feb. 3 meeting, councillors agreed to have Mayor Fred Haynes write a letter on behalf of council asking that the appropriate University of Victoria (UVic) and Camosun College staff attend a Committee of the Whole meeting to discuss the need for further on-campus student housing as well as student conduct when living off campus.
Coun. Colin Plant suggested that Haynes recommend the discussion be by delegation so that only councillors can ask UVic and Camosun staff questions. Public queries could take up the whole meeting, Plant said.
After the meeting, Coun. Ned Taylor said a lack of available on-campus housing means many students live off campus – often with more roommates than Saanich currently allows. He feels that addressing student housing issues will reduce the number of students in “illegal housing situations” which will benefit students and their neighbours.
Taylor said new residences being built by UVic won’t be sufficient.
According to the UVic website, there are currently 2300 beds in single student housing and 181 family housing units on the campus. With the construction of a new residence building set to be completed by 2023, UVic will be adding 621 beds on campus.
Paul Marck, a spokesperson for UVic, said the university staff will be “happy to meet with [council]” when the time arises.
While Camosun doesn’t currently have any student housing, bringing affordable housing to the campus is a priority for the college, said Rodney Porter, executive director of communications and marketing.
The college has submitted a proposal for student housing on the Lansdowne campus to the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, Porter said. Staff are working with the Ministry to complete the planning and approval stages.
Porter said Camosun “will continue to maintain an open dialogue with the local municipalities” on the matter of student housing.