Home Business & Economy Housing Six Vancouver Island municipalities must designate Transit Oriented Areas

Six Vancouver Island municipalities must designate Transit Oriented Areas

Impact on south Vancouver Island municipalities: Colwood, Langford, Saanich, Victoria and View Royal

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BC Transit bus shelter in downtown Victoria. [Island Social Trends]

Thursday December 7, 2023 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated 3:56 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

The municipal councils of Colwood, Langford, Saanich, Victoria and View Royal on south Vancouver Island — and Nanaimo in the mid-island area — are now required to designated Transit Oriented Areas (TOAs) as part of the provincial government’s guidelines and legislation for increasing housing density along frequent transit routes.

ravi kahlon, housing minister, nov 2023
Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon in Legislative Committee, Nov 20, 2023. [Hansard]

Bill 47 — which passed in the Legislative Assembly last week — now includes guidelines that require local governments to amend their Official Community Plans (OCP) to include TOA designations by June 30, 2024.

If OCPs are amended to include corresponding densities outlined by the MD Framework and the Province requires all zoning bylaws to comply with OCPs by July 31, 2024, the MD Framework may only be in force for less than a year for some locations.

Bill 47 also restricts local government ability to require residential off-street parking in TOAs, except for parking for people with disabilities and to access services and amenities.

single lane, jacklin, construction, traffic
Single-lane traffic in place on Jacklin Road (from Orono to Lequesne) from Nov 27, 2023 into summer 2025 during nearby apartment building construction. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Any rezoning application that has received First Reading by its respective local government before Jan. 1, 2024, will be exempt from the requirements of TOA Legislation 47 and Regulation 44.

Getting the legislation through:

During the Fall 2023 session of the Legislative Assembly there were several pieces of housing legislation and many long days (into night) for discussion and debate.

Some of the opposition concerns included sudden wealth for those who already own property and that affordability was not directly addressed (saying things like upfront Amenity Cost Charges for infrastructure will immediately increase the cost of resultant housing units).

“The housing market is not working, and these changes are needed to address the crisis,” said Kahlon.

langford, xmas, 2023

Transit-oriented development:

In today’s lengthy news release (December 7, 2023: Regulations, policy manuals issued to help deliver more homes for people faster) there is itemization of how transit-oriented development is to be carried out, starting with municipalities needing to designate transit-oriented areas (TOAs) in their neighbourhoods.

Today in social media Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said that the Policy Manuals and Regulations will support the implementation of Transit-Oriented Development and Small-Scale Multi-Unit legislation.

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Tire rebates at Dumont Tirecraft in Sooke. [Dec 2023]

Four municipal categories:

The regulations create four categories that municipalities fit into based on type of stop, size of municipality and transit-service provided.

The identified 31 municipalities that must designate TOAs and adopt the minimum allowable densities prescribed in the regulations are as follows (six Vancouver Island municipalities shown in bold):

  • * City of Abbotsford
  • * City of Burnaby
  • * City of Chilliwack
  • * City of Colwood
  • * City of Coquitlam
  • * City of Delta
  • * City of Kamloops
  • * City of Kelowna
  • * City of Langford
  • * City of Langley
  • * Township of Langley
  • * District of Lantzville
  • * City of Maple Ridge
  • * City of Mission
  • * City of Nanaimo
  • * City of New Westminster
  • * City of North Vancouver
  • * District of North Vancouver
  • * City of Penticton
  • * City of Pitt Meadows
  • * City of Prince George
  • * City of Port Coquitlam
  • * City of Port Moody
  • * City of Richmond
  • * District of Saanich
  • * City of Surrey
  • * City of Vancouver
  • * City of Vernon
  • * Town of View Royal
  • * City of Victoria
  • * Resort Municipality of Whistler

Step-by-step guides:

The guidance also includes a step-by-step guide for local government to appropriately designate all TOAs within their jurisdiction and implement the MD Framework.

Local governments must pass a bylaw that designates each TOA in accordance with the LGA, including a map, plan or other graphic material by June 30, 2024, and notify the minister of housing in writing of the final adoption of the bylaw that is compliant with TOA requirements, including a copy of the bylaw.

More info:

Full news release December 7, 2023: Regulations, policy manuals issued to help deliver more homes for people faster

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