‘Going to make the situation worse’: B.C. mayor pushes back on housing targets

Click to play video: 'B.C. mayors voice concerns about province’s new housing initiative'
B.C. mayors voice concerns about province’s new housing initiative
WATCH: Some mayors are speaking out and expressing their concerns about the B.C. government's new housing initiative, that will give municipalities targets for new housing. As Richard Zussman reports, they're worried about the extra infrastructure that will be needed – Jun 2, 2023

A B.C. mayor is pushing back against the province after being “given housing targets” to fast-track more homes within the municipality.

District of North Vancouver Mayor Mike Little said transportation infrastructure needs to be addressed before the municipality focuses on building new homes.

“We are seeing on a daily basis traffic congestion. It’s long lineups to the North Shore and long lineups back off the North Shore. That challenge is seven days a week,” he told Global News.

“Any time we talk about growth in our community it has to be connected to investments in infrastructure — both in transit and in transportation, like an upgrade to the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.”

On Wednesday, the B.C. government gave 10 municipalities “housing targets.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. unveils first 10 housing target communities'
B.C. unveils first 10 housing target communities

Those chosen have the most significant housing needs and the highest projected population growth, according to the province.

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Little said he has told the province about his concerns, especially centred around traffic congestion issues that have plagued the area for years.

“We do have a commitment from them to sit down and talk to us about it,” he said.

“I just don’t think we can have those conversations unless we have commitments to transit and bridge infrastructure improvements along the way.

“It is probably going to make the situation worse.”

The mayor said if the housing targets were more focused on affordable housing it could possibly help their traffic issues, as it could remove workers from their commute routes, but he said because it is not, it could be “disastrous for our community.”

Click to play video: 'North Vancouver housing infrastructure concerns'
North Vancouver housing infrastructure concerns

All of the communities on this list have to prepare a five-year plan for growth that will be presented to the province.

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The selected municipalities are:

  • City of Abbotsford
  • City of Delta
  • City of Kamloops
  • District of North Vancouver
  • District of Oak Bay
  • City of Port Moody
  • District of Saanich
  • City of Vancouver
  • City of Victoria
  • District of West Vancouver
Click to play video: '‘Cut red tape’: B.C. working to build more homes, faster in selected communities'
‘Cut red tape’: B.C. working to build more homes, faster in selected communities

B.C.’s Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon said if those municipalities show signs of not meeting their given targets, the province could step in.

The housing targets will be set after consultations over the summer and the progress of municipalities will be assessed after six months.

“For those communities that are having challenges after six months, we have the ability to bring in an independent advisor who will help find where the barriers may be and help them make progress,” Kahlon said.

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“If we find that that progress isn’t being made, then we have the ability as a province to step in and make the decisions we believe are necessary to ensure affordable housing in communities.”

The Housing Supply Act gives the province the ability to set housing targets in municipalities, which will help “encourage” them to “address local barriers to construction” so that housing can be built faster, the province said.

The Housing Supply Act is part of the province’s Homes for People action plan.

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

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