B.C. government announces first land buy for housing near transit

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B.C. government announces first land buy for housing near transit
WATCH: B.C. Premier David Eby announced on Monday the government plans to purchase land near transit hubs to shape development for affordable housing. – Apr 8, 2024

The B.C. government has announced its first purchase of land intended for the development of housing near transit.

The province has acquired two lots in Saanich near the Galloping Goose trail and Highway 1, which will be the site of hundreds of units of housing in multiple buildings, along with retail and commercial space.

“Everything you would look for in a transit hub is located here in this part of Saanich, it is the ideal place to build both transit and a transit hub,” Premier David Eby said.

Click to play video: 'B.C. wants to increase density near transit hubs'
B.C. wants to increase density near transit hubs

The move to buy land for housing is meant to address concerns about property values climbing near transit hubs.

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“Which means that often the people who actually use transit and depend on it every day are priced out of living closest to transit. It’s a paradox government has had to address,” Eby said.

The project, which remains in its early stages, will be designed to align with Saanich’s Uptown-Douglas Plan.

The two lots cost $9.3 million, with funding coming from a $394-million property acquisition fund announced in the 2023 budget for transit-oriented development.

The NDP government passed legislation in 2022 allowing the province to buy land housing near transit hubs, along with legislation last year that will require cities to allow greater density near transit hubs.

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Transit-oriented development law raises demoviction concerns

“We’ve signalled a new direction and a clear recognition that building transit infrastructure is more than just about the SkyTrain platforms and its more than just the rapid bus exchanges,” Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said.

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The government has set a goal of building 10,000 housing units near transit on public land province-wide over the next 10 to 15 years.

Planning for the new Saanich developments, to be sited at 3657 Harriet Rd., currently occupied by Budget Rent-a-Car, and another at 28 Crease Ave., previously occupied by Ryzuk Geotechnical., remains in the conceptual stage, with dates for public consultation yet to be announced.

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