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Missed housing goals proving the need for legislation: B.C. minister

3 out of 4 B.C. municipalities subject to new housing targets failed to meet their goals
Victoria completed more housing units in the past six-months than it needed to in year-one of a five-year provincial housing target timeline, but other three other municipalities have fallen short. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said the failure of B.C. municipalities to meet their new housing targets proves the need of the legislation in the first place.

“It says that the status quo wasn’t going to get us the housing we need for people in our communities,” Kahlon said Monday (May 6), after four communities — Victoria, Saanich, Oak Bay and Delta — reported on their progress meeting their respective targets under the Housing Supply Act.

The act stipulates housing targets for 10 municipalities. Reports show only Victoria on pace to meet its goal after six months. While Victoria has to produce 659 new net homes, it has already met and exceeded that goal with 753 net new homes in the first six months. It also issued 316 building permits and approved another 1,628 units in the six-month stretch.

The three other communities failed to meet their targets by various degrees. Oak Bay approved just seven units, well short of its year-one requirement of 56, as staff expressed skepticism about its ability to meet its goals.

Saanich created 195 net new homes against a goal of 440, while Delta created 242 new homes against a goal of 514 homes. While short of their respective goals, both communities signalled stronger efforts ahead.

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The Housing Supply Act — which has earned the moniker of ‘naughty-list’ — also applies to Abbotsford, Kamloops, the District of North Vancouver, Port Moody, Vancouver and West Vancouver and serves as an overall target guide with other legislation changing actual on-ground rules for development.

The provincial housing targets represent a 38-per-cent increase in new units, compared to what the municipalities would have built based on historic projections, according to the provincial government.

The province also sent each municipality a list of housing target guidelines, including a recommended number of units by size, rental-versus-owned units and below-market rental units with the province calling for more than 16,800 below-market rentals.

Once the remaining municipalities have reported out on where they stand at six months, Kahlon said his focus will be on finding out whether communities are moving forward with reforms to cut red tape.

“I was under no illusions that the housing crisis would be solved in six months,” he said. “But it again reminded me that communities need the legislation that we brought in last year.”

-with files from Mark Page, Jake Romphf and James Smith