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Tim Wake

Creating Affordable Homeownership


About Tim

Tim Wake is now retired after 20 years experience working in affordable homeownership and rental housing. Trained as a mechanical engineer, he began to take an interest in affordable housing while living in Banff in the early 1990’s. A move to Whistler in 1994 broadened this interest and he began working as a volunteer on local affordable housing issues. In 1997, Tim helped found the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW), and became its first Housing Administrator.

Tim worked with the WHA from its inception in 1997 until 2005, first as Housing Administrator and then as General Manager starting in 2001. In 2005 he was elected to Whistler Municipal Council and during his term (2005 – 2008) served as a director on the WHA Board. At this point, Tim also began consulting to other municipalities and developers on the provision of affordable housing.

The Whistler Housing Authority facilitated the delivery of more than 1,000 homes, ownership and rental, between 1999 and 2011. This stock was predominately two and three bedroom townhomes. The WHA forged new ground in producing housing for sale and rent at a price that local working families could afford and played a key role in keeping 80% of Whistler’s workforce living in Whistler.

In addition to helping produce affordable housing, the WHA also pioneered mechanisms to keep it affordable over time, developing restrictive covenants, a waitlist system, and a resale turnover process that has resulted in these units still providing homes for the local workforce today.

As a consultant, Tim has worked with municipalities in BC, Alberta, and the Northwest Territories, has made numerous presentations at conferences and workshops and authored several publications including: A Review of Best Practices in Affordable Housing (2007), Creating Market and Non-Market Affordable Housing: A Smart Growth Tool Kit for BC Municipalities (2008) and A Guide for Canadian Municipalities for the Development of a Housing Action Plan (CMHC 2010).


Review of Best Practices

A review of a range of affordable housing approaches used by local governments in select jurisdictions in Canada and the U.S. with some preliminary comments about the effectiveness of these tools. The report describes policies, programs, and strategies based on their frequency of use by local governments, identifies how each are used in the jurisdictions surveyed, and lists them in order of most frequent use.

Affordable housing, both rental and owned, and  as distinct from social rental housing, is in particularly short supply in Lower Mainland communities where market prices have escalated rapidly, and few of these practices have been implemented. Full Document

Comprehensive Housing Action Plan

This plan was developed in the Town of Canmore, Alberta to address a shortage of workforce housing in the community. A committee of housing stakeholders from the community including the Canmore Community Housing Corporation, the Town of Canmore, Bow Valley Regional Housing, the Canmore Economic Development Authority, local developers and local builders was assembled to assess the shortage, quantify the need, identify solutions and prepare the plan. Full Document

Smart Growth BC Affordable Housing Toolkit

The purpose of this Toolkit is to give local government staff and decision-makers more detailed knowledge about eight tools that deliver market and non-market affordable housing so they are better equipped to decide which approaches suit their community and to develop an affordable housing program. Local governments have the legislative authority to work with developers to use all of these tools to create affordable housing. This Toolkit provides the support and suggestions on how to craft an effective affordable housing program. Full Document

Tim Wake

Creating Affordable Housing