The B.C. government has introduced changes to the Transportation Act that will allow the Province to acquire land for the purpose of building housing and community amenities near transit stations and bus exchanges.
According to the government, the amendments will give the BC Transportation Financing Authority the ability to acquire and improve land to support the development of housing and amenities near transit hubs built as part of the public transit system.
Currently, the financing authority is able to purchase land for transportation projects but is not able to acquire additional property to facilitate transit-related development, such as housing and other community amenities. The government says that prior to the latest amendment, it has been challenging to shape growth around stations sites.
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“Public transit isn’t just about getting people from A to B, it’s also about building greener and more liveable communities,” said Fleming. “We will increase the level of affordable housing and services that are integrated into our significant investments in transit.”
The most recent amendment to the Transportation Act, the government says, will allow housing to be built in mixed-use developments, along with childcare centres, shops and commercial services, schools and health-care centres, educational facilities, public gathering spaces and recreation centres.
The government hopes that these changes will allow for development that can “maximize the amount of residential, business and leisure space and other amenities in close proximity to public transport.”
Additionally, developments near transit will promote compact communities and create convenience for pedestrians, cyclists and people with mobility aids to access transit.
The land that the Province will look to acquire will be within an 800-metre radius of transit stations — the outside distance from which people can easily access public transit by walking, pedalling or using a mobility device.
The Province’s hope is that the legislative change will support future transit investments.