VANCOUVER, Oct. 27, 2017 /CNW/ - Expanding the housing available to B.C. families is the driving force behind BC Liberal leadership candidate Michael de Jong's commitment to reduce the delays that are creating a logjam for new housing construction.
A BC Liberal government led by de Jong would offer financial incentives and assistance to local governments willing to collaborate and find creative ways to reduce the time it takes to get the private sector building desperately needed new homes.
"Families deserve the opportunity to own their own homes. But a lack of new housing supply is hurting this opportunity – like its hurting our communities and our economy," de Jong said. "About 120,000 homes are waiting for approval so construction companies can get shovels in the ground. We can increase the supply of homes – and make them more affordable for families – if we can shrink the decision timelines and increase the number of homes being built."
The population of Metro Vancouver has increased by 476,000 since 2001, while the number of dwellings increased by fewer than 175,000. As well, a recent private sector report showed that across 19 local governments in the Lower Mainland, the typical approval process averaged 10.2 months, with 13 municipalities taking longer than the average time frame. For example the City of Vancouver is last, with an average 21 months for a decision.
De Jong's housing proposal would legislate timelines for municipalities and regional governments to make planning decisions—yes or no—on development approvals. It would include ongoing financial incentives for local governments who commit to:
- streamline approval processes and work to make them consistent across communities.
- ensure all residential proposals of 50 units or fewer would be through the full zoning and permitting process in fewer than 10 months.
- enhance the capacity of their planning and zoning to meet these timelines.
Communities that meet the timelines would be eligible for continued funding support.
"Governments are quick to impose timelines on citizens and hold them to account, but they never like to be constrained themselves," de Jong said. "Our market has a growing, mobile, prosperous population. If we are to provide them with homes they can afford, we need our governments to keep their side of the bargain and make the decision process clearer, predictable and efficient. And for those communities that say they do not have the capacity, we would provide funding and support."
The housing gap: building less than half the homes needed to support growing population:
- The 2016 census found that the population of Metro Vancouver had increased by just over 150,000 since 2011, while the number of dwellings increased by fewer than 70,000 – a gap of 80,000 homes.
- The population of Metro Vancouver has increased by 476,000 since 2001, while the number of dwellings increased by fewer than 175,000: a gap of 301,000 homes.
Delays in development decisions:
- A 2016 study by Deloitte commissioned by the BC Liberal government reviewed the planning processes of six metro Vancouver local governments and the number of units of housing stuck at one of the multiple planning phases.
- A minimum of 108,000 units are estimated to be awaiting approval in just six of Metro Vancouver's 24 local governments, based on the limited information local governments were willing to share.
- A more extensive study with greater cooperation would likely reveal tens of thousands more.
(Source: Development action review, July 2016: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Development_Application_Review.pdf )
SOURCE Michael de Jong
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