Home Business & Economy Housing Six more CRD municipalities to get housing targets

Six more CRD municipalities to get housing targets

Specific targets coming this summer.

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Multi-family housing [sample]

Tuesday April 23, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated April 24, 2024]

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends

Today four more Greater Victoria municipalities have been targeted to deliver more homes.

Six municipalities within the Capital Regional District (aka Greater Victoria) Colwood, Esquimalt, Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney and View Royal were included on a list of 20 communities — called ‘priority communities’ — that will be required to meet housing targets over the next five years.

It will be interesting to see what Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon comes up with for housing targets for Colwood, Esquimalt, Central Saanich, North Saanich, Sidney and View Royal which are smaller municipalities than Victoria and Saanich which jumped into the program last fall.

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Greater Victoria municipalities that already received their housing target marching orders last year are Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay. Both Victoria and Saanich mayors were readily and philosophically on board for the shift in housing density and variety, while the longstanding Oak Bay lifestyle saw the Oak Bay mayor needing to express some resistance to change. [See: Saanich, Oak Bay and Victoria heading into housing collaboration with Province – June 2, 2023]

That leaves Langford and Sooke still without directives for housing but those fast-growing areas are already producing a lot of housing. Metchosin and Highlands work hard to remain rural and wouldn’t have the infrastructure to support new fast housing growth.

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High-growth, high-need regions:

The identified 20 communities are in high-growth, high-need regions of BC where many communities are taking action to deliver more homes quicker, the Housing Ministry said in a statement today.

Fast rollout of housing legislation:

This news came today from the Ministry of Housing.

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Premier David Eby and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced BC Builds on Feb 13, 2024 in North Vancouver. [Composite by Island Social Trends]

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon has been burning the midnight oil on the housing file since leading the new standalone housing ministry that was announced in December 2022.

In the Fall 2023 session five new pieces of housing legislation launched significant changes to the housing landscape in BC, including introduction of more multi-family construction and situating housing near high-frequency transportation. In February 2023 the BC Builds program was launched.

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Targets will be released for these communities:

The Province will monitor progress and work with these 20 municipalities to achieve their targets, which will be announced this summer.

On Vancouver Island:

  • Colwood (in Greater Victoria / CRD)
  • Esquimalt (in Greater Victoria / CRD)
  • Central Saanich (in Greater Victoria / CRD)
  • Nanaimo
  • North Cowichan
  • North Saanich (in Greater Victoria / CRD)
  • Sidney (in Greater Victoria / CRD)
  • View Royal (in Greater Victoria / CRD)

On the BC Mainland:

  • Chilliwack
  • Kelowna
  • City of Langley
  • Maple Ridge
  • Mission
  • New Westminster
  • City of North Vancouver
  • Port Coquitlam
  • Prince George
  • Surrey
  • West Kelowna
  • White Rock

Building more homes:

The housing targets are part of the Province’s commitment to build more homes for people, the next set of priority communities has been identified to receive housing targets for the next five years.

ravi kahlon, dean murdock, saanich, housing
BC Housing Minister chatting with Saanich Mayor Dean Murdock ahead of announcing the housing targets for 10 municipalities, Sept 26, 2023 at Saanich municipal hall. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

“We are addressing the housing crisis with our municipal partners so thousands more affordable homes can be built for people who need them,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “Our goal for the next 20 communities is to build on the work they are already doing, while they continue to implement the recent provincial legislative changes. This group includes communities that are doing well on housing and some that need to do more.”

The Province introduced the Housing Supply Act in 2023 and established housing targets for the first 10 priority municipalities, based on areas of greatest need and highest projected growth. Twenty additional priority municipalities have been identified. The Province will work with these communities to ensure they meet their housing targets, laying the foundation for tens of thousands more homes to be built quicker.

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Municipalities weigh in:

VIEW ROYAL: “In a Province where housing targets seem to multiply faster than rabbits, I prefer a community with a balanced approach to good urban planning and infrastructure,” says View Royal Mayor Sid Tobias.

“View Royal was one of the first municipalities to support secondary suites and has provided extraordinary growth with purpose-built market rentals and condominiums in recent years. View Royal is rezoning to comply with recent legislation. Housing targets for municipalities will be largely determined by market conditions, the cost of borrowing and the availability of skilled workers and not the municipality,” Tobias said in a statement to Island Social Trends today.

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Public town hall about new provincial housing legislation attended by about 180 people, Nov 23, 2023 at the Victoria Scottish Community Centre. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

“I am concerned that none of these initiatives really focus on housing need vs housing demand,” Tobias adds. “I do not believe Council has approved anything in the past few years that would allow for someone making minimum wage in our service industry to find a place to live. To me that is housing need: having enough variety of affordable housing options to take care of the folks working hard in our communities or those living on a fixed income.”

Island Social Trends has also reached out to other CRD municipalities for their comment.

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Small-scale, multi-unit, and near transit:

Municipalities are taking action to approve housing quicker through the implementation of provincial legislation to allow small-scale multi-unit housing, designated Transit-Oriented Areas, updated Official Community Plans and streamlined local-development approval processes, as well as standardized housing designs that will be available this year.

As local governments implement these changes, the Province is confident they will meet their ambitious housing goals, the Ministry said today.

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Infrastructure investments:

Many provincial investments in infrastructure and below-market housing prioritize these high-growth, high-need communities and work to align provincial goals with municipal goals.

The Province continues to advocate to the federal government about prioritizing infrastructure investments in high-need communities. With the recent federal budget and housing announcements (including Canada Builds, which is fashioned after BC Builds), the BC government will continue to advocate for support for these priority communities that match their commitment to get housing built.

Supports to local governments:

To help facilitate implementation of these initiatives and the housing targets, the Province will continue to provide local governments with a range of resources and supports, such as:

  • $1-billion Growing Communities Fund to help 188 local governments address population growth;
  • $10 million for a second intake of the Local Government Development Approvals Program; and
  • $51 million in grant-based funding to support activities or projects, such as updating existing zoning bylaws, housing needs reports and official community plans.
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Housing Supply Act:

The Housing Supply Act is part of the Province’s Homes for People action plan to deliver more homes in BC, building on the province’s $19-billion housing investment and the introduction of effective tools to tackle speculation and increase the number of rentals.

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Island Social Trends reports news with socioeconomic insights and analysis. Independent news service on south Vancouver Island, BC. Read free online or get the biweekly PDF by email.

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