View Royal mayor proposes six months pause on new development

View Royal mayor proposes six months pause on new development

The mayor of View Royal says the housing projects that will bring 900 new units to the municipality are enough for now, so he’d like to see a six-month pause for new development.

Seven projects in the municipality are currently underway or in the process of being approved, and Mayor Sid Tobias says that’s enough growth.

“We’re at 11,500 for population in View Royal. That growth will continue for the next two years until all of those are built, and people move into them, and that will see View Royal grow 18 per cent,” Tobias said.

He is putting forward a motion asking council to hit “pause” on all new development for six months.

“We’re going to still ascribe by the Local Government Act. And we are going to entertain any completed rezoning application that comes before us,” Tobias said.

But B.C.’s Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon has a message for View Royal’s mayor and council.

“The message to them is to consider themselves part of British Columbia. We’re all in a housing crisis, and all communities have to play their part,” Kahlon said via a Zoom call.

View Royal is one of the municipalities on the provincial government’s “naughty list,” which is the list of municipalities with the greatest potential growth and means to build housing but are too slow to approve new units.

“There are not many councils who have said what the View Royal mayor and council is saying across the province. I talk to mayors and councils all the time. It’s very rare to hear a mayor say, in the middle of a housing crisis, we’re not doing anything to contribute to that,” Kahlon said.

The province will reward municipalities that meet housing targets with cash to build infrastructure for their growing communities.

And with the average cost of a home in View Royal priced at more than $1 million, the former mayor, David Screech, thinks his successor and council should keep all options on the table.

“A moratorium on rezoning, in my mind, is unnecessary. Every rezoning is decided on its own merits. And who knows what good ideas we may be stifling by not allowing them to come forward,” Screech said.

The motion to pause all new development comes before View Royal council Tuesday night.

Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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