Monday January 15, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The Capital Regional District (CRD) has initiated a regional Alternative Approval Process (AAP) to seek elector approval to increase the borrowing authority through the Land Assembly, Housing and Land Banking service to $85 million.
“This increase is to support future housing partnership opportunities and address the critical need to enhance the supply of affordable, inclusive, and adequate housing across the region,” it was stated by the CRD in a news release on January 3.
The CRD operates their Capital Regional Housing Corporation (CRHC) to develop and manage affordable housing to meet the needs of people living within the capital region. In a nutshell, they are using taxpayer dollars to fund housing for people in the community.
Projects identified first:
CRD says that debt will not be incurred until specific partnerships and project opportunities are identified and approved through the annual CRD budget process.
“The debt servicing cost will be recovered over a period not exceeding 30 years through annual requisition for the service,” says CRD.
All municipal and electoral areas:
The service area spans all municipalities and electoral areas within the CRD, encompassing Central Saanich, Colwood, Esquimalt, Highlands, Langford, Metchosin, North Saanich, Oak Bay, Saanich, Sidney, Sooke, Victoria, View Royal, and the Electoral Areas of Juan de Fuca, Salt Spring Island, and Southern Gulf Islands.
Opportunity for public response:
The total number of electors in the Capital Regional District is 331,905. CRD says that the AAP allows the CRD Board to adopt the bylaw if less than 10% (33,191) of electors submit a signed Elector Response Form, indicating the need for a referendum.
The deadline for submitting signed elector response forms is noon on Monday, February 5, 2024. While most citizens might have an opinion on borrowing and overall regional governance, this is a detailed and administrative process about which most people won’t have time or context for response.
And generally speaking, most people do understand that it takes financing at a government level to produce enough funds for major construction projects like affordable housing.
Further, most people realize that the wheels of governance and administration rarely get changed even through articulate protest.
CRD affordable housing:
Most people favour the ideal of providing housing in communities which might be considered affordable.
What people might want to explore or protest is the process by which CRD qualifies people for ‘affordable’ housing (as distinct from subsidized housing).
Oftentimes the recipients of that benefit have stable employment and could otherwise afford market rent but take advantage of CRD support to get a leg up in the market.
See CRD Eligibility for Affordable Housing information online.
Response form online:
More information about the AAPs, including copies of the elector response form can be found on the website at https://www.crd.bc.ca/landbanking-aap.
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Editor Mary P Brooke has been writing about the west shore and south Vancouver Island region since 2008 through a series of publications: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and Island Social Trends (2020 to present).