Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay among municipalities selected in B.C.’s new housing target plan

Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay among municipalities selected in B.C.'s new housing target plan

Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay are among the first 10 municipalities selected by the B.C. government to have their housing targets set by the Ministry of Housing.

Under the Housing Supply Act, the province now has the authority to set housing targets for local municipalities to fast-track development.

By setting those targets, it can then monitor what steps are being taken to carry out those goals and assist local communities in doing so, according to a release Wednesday.

The targets won’t be released to the public until this summer, but Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says they’ll be meeting with the cities in the next few weeks to allow them to assess the proposal.

Additionally, the act grants Kahlon and Lieutenant Governor Janet Austin the ability to amend certain local bylaws, grant or reject permits, and guide municipalities throughout the province in creating new housing strategies.

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On Wednesday, the first 10 municipalities affected by this change were selected and unveiled and included:

  • City of Victoria
  • District of Saanich
  • District of Oak Bay
  • City of Abbotsford
  • City of Delta
  • City of Kamloops
  • District North Vancouver
  • City of Port Moody
  • City of Vancouver
  • District of West Vancouver

While the housing crisis is ongoing across the province, the ministry says it identified these 10 regions based on metrics that “prioritize the urgency of local housing needs.”

Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay all made their way onto the list by calculating their renter-to-owner ratios, dwelling-to-population ratios, and homelessness counts, among other measures.

Story continues below.

(Provided by: Ministry of Housing)

“We welcome being part of a first wave of communities challenged to accelerate building homes for people,” said Marianne Alto, Victoria’s mayor.

“These targets reflect the city’s own commitment to housing current and future Victorians.”

The B.C. government passed the Housing Supply Act last fall, allowing it to set housing targets, saying it would encourage cities to address barriers to construction, including updating zoning bylaws and streamlining local development approval processes.

The province also announced amendments to end strata bylaws restricting owners from renting their units and to limit adult-only age restrictions in certain buildings, except seniors’ housing.

It says it will only use the compliance actions as a last resort should municipalities struggle to create the necessary conditions to ensure housing gets built.

Another eight communities will be named later this year.

The act in its entirety can be read here.

-with files from The Canadian Press

Roger CollinsRoger Collins

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