B.C. names 10 cities for faster development to help address housing crisis

British Columbia’s housing minster says more homes will be built sooner under a plan to set construction targets in 10 cities or municipalities in an effort to fast track development.

Ravi Kahlon has announced that the province will set housing targets for Vancouver, the District of West Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver, Delta, Port Moody, Abbotsford, Victoria, Oak Bay, Saanich and Kamloops.

Kahlon says the first 10 communities were chosen based on factors including projected growth and the need for different types of housing.

The targets won’t be released to the public until this summer, but Kahlon says staff from his ministry will be meeting with the cities in the next few weeks to allow them to assess the proposal.

If communities have challenges in making progress on the housing targets, Kahlon says the province may appoint an adviser or step in to make decisions.

The minister says the province has engaged economists and other experts in the private sector to help develop the targets, which he described as “expansive,” going deeper than simply providing a number of new units each city should build.

“The housing crisis is hurting people and holding back our economy, and we’re taking action with our partners to cut red tape and get homes built faster for people,” Kahlon says in a news release.

The province used 10 different metrics in its data-driven model to choose the communities, from the availability of land to the current price of rents being paid by middle-income families, Kahlon told a news conference in Vancouver.

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

The province announced its so-called Homes for People plan in April, starting with a $4-billion investment over three years and committing to $12 billion over a decade.

It includes incentives to build and increase density, plans for supportive housing, zoning changes to allow secondary suites across the province, a crack down on house flippers, and income-tested financial support for renters.

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

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