Home Business & Economy Housing UBCM 2024 Housing Summit: affordability, growth & new legislation

UBCM 2024 Housing Summit: affordability, growth & new legislation

Featuring federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Sean Fraser & BC Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon | Includes panel: Housing the Next Million British Columbians

ubcm, housing summit
UBCM Housing Summit - Feb 13 & 14, 2024

Monday February 12, 2024 | VANCOUVER, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Federal and BC leadership is gathering tomorrow and Wednesday — February 13 and 14 — for a housing summit hosted by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver.

ravi kahlon, housing minister
BC Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon at a media session May 31, 2023. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

The summit will feature on-site participation by federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Sean Fraser and BC Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon.

  • Kahlon will address the participants at 1 pm on February 13, and take questions.
  • Fraser will address participants at 2:30 pm on February 14.
sean fraser
Sean Fraser, Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities, 2024. [LinkedIn]

Response to housing issues and growth:

The event theme is Local Vision Local Action.

The event is being held in response to BC’s continuing crisis in housing affordability and attainability, surging population growth, and recent housing legislation.

ubcm, housing summit
UBCM Housing Summit – Feb 13 & 14, 2024

The Housing Summit is UBCM’s offering to municipal elected officials and staff as an opportunity to discuss the significant challenges and changes facing the housing system in BC.

Bills that will be discussed are Bill 45 – Recent Housing Legislation & the Law and also Bill 47 – Transit Oriented Development.

Other speakers:

A discussion session called Housing the Next Million British Columbians will be held on February 13 at 8:45 am, featuring: Mayor Leonard Krog (Nanaimo); Mayor Mike Hurley (Burnaby); Mayor Nathan Pachal (Langley City); Mayor Janice Morrison (Nelson): Mayor Marianne Alto (Victoria); and Mayor Malcolm Brodie (Richmond).

A discussion called Population Growth & Housing will be held on February 14 at 8:30 am, featuring: Brett Wilmer, BC Data Service; Braden Batch, Lead Economist, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC); and Andy Yan, Director, SFU Cities Program.

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housing, high-density, apartments, skytrain
Transit Oriented Development Areas (TOD Areas) near transit hubs, in new BC legislation. [Dec 2023]

Professional Learning credits:

The Planning Institute of BC has recognized participation at UBCM’s 2024 Housing Summit as counting towards its Continuous Professional Learning (CPL) requirement.

Planners attending the full summit will receive 14.5 units toward the 18-unit annual requirement.

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Recent changes in housing:

“The two-day summit will help local governments take stock of recent changes to the way housing is planned for and developed in their communities,” said UBCM in a news bulletin yesterday.

The Province introduced a suite of housing legislative changes in the Fall 2023 session. There will be a sweeping effect across cities and towns over time, starting with the largest cities being required to identify Transit Oriented Areas (TOA’s) where housing density will need to be higher.

marianne alto, ravi kahlon, david eby
City of Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto addressed media about the municipal impacts of short-term rentals, at a media session with Premier David Eby and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon, Oct 16, 2023 at the BC Legislature. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

All communities will be concerned about demands for infrastructure revisions or upgrades as population density increases.

Municipalities will be encouraged to apply ACC’s (amenity cost charges) ahead of housing development, as a way to avoid catch-up with infrastructure after housing is built. Presently, developers are often required to pay DCC’s (development cost charges) which municipalities use to deal with infrastructure needs after completion of housing development.

Where it works in terms of infrastructure, there is now the option for property owners to revise the structure on their single family lot to instead be a duplex, triplex or fourplex. Off-the-shelf multiplex designs will be available to home builders.

There has also been a clamp-down on short-term rentals as a way to free up housing supply.

Municipal buy-in:

Not all municipalities are happy about the significant and fast changes to housing legislation. It lands a lot more responsibility on their shoulders and means a lot more work for staff.

view royal, council, town hall, housing
Town of View Royal Councillors listening to the public at a housing legislation town hall on Nov 23, 2023 (from left): Alison MacKenzie, John Rogers, Gery Lemon, Damian Kowalewich, Ron Mattson. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

In some municipalities there has been pushback over the fact that municipal councils will in many cases have less influence over the shaping and development of their communities. Last fall, the Mayor of Oak Bay was outspoken about the impact on democracy at the local level and the the Town of View Royal protested loss of council consideration for public input on developments.

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]

But other larger municipalities — notably Victoria and Saanich — are fully on board with housing growth to meet the challenges of BC’s population increase. The Mayor of Saanich joined Minister Kahlon in a few housing-related announcements last fall.

Population increase:

The population of BC is over 5.5 million (2023) and continues to grow by as much as 75,000 to 125,000 people per year as more people arrive in BC from other provinces and from international locations.

monk, it services

Some communities have already experienced significant growth over the last 10 to 15 years, notably Surrey on the Lower Mainland and the west shore area of Greater Victoria.

urban food resilience initiatives society, logo
The Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society is based in the west shore of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.

Population replacement in BC (births over deaths) is expected to reach net zero by 2030. Most population growth is thereby from immigration.

Spring 2024 session:

The Ministry of Housing is developing legislative tools, which will be brought forward in spring 2024, to support local government in developing inclusionary zoning policies to create more affordable housing.

In early 2024, the ministry in partnership will also launch BC Builds, a new program that will leverage public and low-cost land, faster development timelines and low-interest construction financing and grants, to increase the amount of rental housing that is affordable for people and families with middle incomes.

Last fall, Kahlon said that of course the spring legislative session will be robust given the upcoming election presently scheduled for October 19, 2024. “People sent us here to take action,” he said in a media availability on November 30, 2023 at the legislature.

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