Friday November 10, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC
Housing Analysis by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
With all the flurry of launching various pieces of housing legislation in recent days and weeks — and the pushback and debate around the massive changes that will occur in BC as a result, Island Social Trends this week asked Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon a few questions on the scenario of housing sector changes.
Municipalities will experience considerable impacts from the many changes to housing in BC — as will homeowners, land owners, neighbourhoods and overall communities, as well as the development community (private sector mostly, though also non-profit organizations who are in the game) who are needed to build the homes for an expanding population in BC.
In the past two years about 250,000 people in-migrated to BC (from across Canada and from international immigration); this may reach 300,000 in 2023. This is putting pressure on housing supply in addition to the already existing scenario of very high home-purchase costs and rental market rents; education and health-care systems are also affected.
There has been much upbeat excitement during media announcements and delivery of proposed legislation in the Legislative Assembly.
But as the implications sink in, there is also push back. Perhaps more than the NDP government might have expected — given the range of impacts of so many changes all at once.
- Many municipalities are still reviewing the legislation and determining its impacts on their decision-making and staffing requirements.
- Developers are reviewing the impacts. We await further input from that community.
- One municipality in the Greater Victoria area (View Royal) is already outraged and soon holding a town hall for public input calling it The Last Public Hearing.
Rolling out the housing legislation:
Here are some comments from Minister Kahlon in an interview with Island Social Trends this week: Smart combo: more housing near transit hubs (November 8, 2023); also:
- Pushback on housing legislation over cost impacts, municipal load, development chill (debate by the Opposition, Nov 9, 2023)
- BC legislation to streamline delivery of homes, services, infrastructure (November 7, 2023)
- Hoped-for housing explosion based on multi-unit zoning (November 2, 2023)
- Clamping down on short-term rentals to free up housing stock (October 16, 2023)
- BC Legislature Fall 2023 session: housing, emergency management, crime, international credentialing, reconciliation (October 1, 2023)
- BC housing initiatives announced twice this week (September 29, 2023)
Summary analysis from the Housing Ministry (Nov 10, 2023):
Here is some detailed commentary from the Ministry of Housing, as received by Island Social Trends in a statement today:
Will Minister Kahlon be considering the suggestions by MLA Norm Letnick today (November 9), that the entry-level homebuyer needs to be considered within Bill 46?
Affordable housing is crucial to address the housing crisis, and it is important to ensure that housing for entry-level homebuyers is supported and viable.
Two newly introduced bills work together to build homes faster and ensure B.C.’s growing communities are supported:
- Bill 44 introduces amendments that will fix outdated zoning rules, deliver more small-scale multi unit homes for people faster, and ensure communities are planned and zoned up-front to meet current and future housing needs rather than relying on site-by-site rezonings. This greater housing supply will help reduce housing prices over time, and support entry level homebuyers with new housing options. The rezoning applications can take months to years depending on the jurisdiction, which can add significant costs to new homes and by transitioning to pre-zoning we will avoid these costly delays to new homes.
- Bill 46 introduces amendments that ensure local governments can fund the services and amenities needed to support greater housing supply that will result from fixing outdated zoning rules and moving to a more up-front planning system that does not rely on rezonings. We have heard from local governments and developers that a more efficient and transparent development finance tool is needed to replace the current practice of relying on negotiation processes during rezonings – the new amenity cost charge will allow for this. Negotiations for amenities can add further delays to new homes being built which due to interest rates, can significantly impact the cost and even viability of new home construction.
Are there enough incentives in Bill 46 for developers?
- Our government is designing policies that will help more people move into the homes they need, faster. Consultation with developers has told us that they need tools that bring cost certainty and transparency, especially as the current economy makes other project costs unpredictable.
- Legislation proposed in Bill 46 will add transparency and predictability to the development approvals process and create a transparent and predictable process that delivers what developers and local governments tell us they need—the ability to know up front how much new construction will contribute to amenities and infrastructure.
- These updates give certainty and transparency to the development community, while ensuring that local community amenity needs can be met.
Is Bill 46 geared mostly at affordable rentals?
- Bill 46 ensures communities have the services and infrastructure people need to support this new growth as we take action to deliver housing across B.C.
- New tools for local governments can help all types of housing to be built faster, including affordable rentals and local governments can wave ACCs from affordable rental housing.
- These changes allow communities to take a balanced approach to funding local infrastructure, making sure people can rely on needed services and infrastructure as our communities grow, and making it quicker and more efficient for home builders to build the homes we need.
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends covers socioeconomic and political news of interest to business, community, municipalities and every British Columbian who is affected by political shifts in BC.
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering news of the west shore and south Vancouver Island (with an eye to BC politics) since 2008.
Island Social Trends launched as an online news portal at IslandSocialTrends.ca in mid-2020, preceded by the printed weekly West Shore Voice News (2014-2020) and Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and before that MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010).
The print edition of Island Social Trends will launch in 2024. Advertisers and Premium Subscribers welcome.