Amid a housing crisis, the Vernon and District Community Land Trust Society is announcing a change in leadership.
City of Vernon Councillor Kari Gares has stepped down and taking on the role of chairperson is long-time vice-chair Margaret Penner.
“As an elected official within the City of Vernon, it is my duty to advocate on behalf of our residents. With years of work history within the housing sector, coupled with years of advocacy on a non-profit housing board, I bring immense knowledge to the table,” said Gares.”Knowledge that is essential if we are going to work through the issues that many of our residents are experiencing at both the local, regional, provincial and federal level.
“To do this, I must be completely unencumbered from other duties that may take away my ability to lead us through this housing crisis, which is why I feel it is necessary to step down from my position as chair.”
The land trust is a non-profit society working to provide affordable housing in the North Okanagan for individuals and families with low to moderate incomes. Together with local government and business leaders, the mandate is to develop a permanent inventory of housing for the “forgotten population,” which includes minimum wage and entry-level working individuals and their families.
“I have complete trust and confidence in the strength of this board,” said Gares. “The wide experience the board holds will ensure a positive cohesive, and well-integrated policy approach that will see many of Vernon’s residents housed. It has been an absolute honour working side-by-side with each of you over the years.”
Penner has been on the land trust board for several years, and praised Gares for her years of dedication to the land trust and to affordable housing in the North Okanagan.
“There are exciting things happening at the land trust and I am thankful to Kari for her wisdom and guidance both while on the board and in her role as the chair,” said Penner.
Land trust executive director Cindy Masters said the organization is looking forward to soon be accepting applications for affordable housing in the new project on Pleasant Valley Road, which broke ground in 2020.
For more information about the land trust, please visit www.communitylandtrust.ca or find them on Facebook and Twitter.