B.C. pledges $61 million to help cities meet new housing density targets

Click to play video: 'B.C. premier addresses hot button topics at UBCM convention'
B.C. premier addresses hot button topics at UBCM convention
Premier David Eby addressed some of the hot button topics for municipalities at the Union of BC Municipalities convention in Vancouver. Legislative bureau chief Keith Baldrey has more on what he said about wildfires and housing. – Sep 22, 2023

B.C. municipalities will get $61 million in funding to assist in meeting new provincial development and zoning changes meant to help address the housing crisis, Premier David Eby said Friday.

Eby made the announcement during his speech at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (BBCM) conference in Vancouver.

Click to play video: 'Victoria using ‘Airbnb tax’ to fund affordable housing'
Victoria using ‘Airbnb tax’ to fund affordable housing

The province is expected to unveil new legislation this fall superseding municipal zoning to allow for more densification as a part of its plan to address a critical housing shortage.

Story continues below advertisement

Eby acknowledged those changes will create more work for municipalities and require more resources, and that he’s heard from local governments that they don’t have enough staff to meet the challenge.

“My commitment to you is that the provincial government, we’re going to pull our weight when it comes to making sure we’re doing our work on this side,” he said.

“We have heard you and my announcement today is the provincial government will be providing $61 million for support for local governments to be able to ensure your housing policy is the best it can possibly be.”

The funding will be split into two streams, staring with $51 million already allocated in the 2023 budget that will be distributed over three years to help accelerate housing approvals at a municipal level.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver developer blames red tape for killing social housing project'
Vancouver developer blames red tape for killing social housing project

An additional $10 million will go to opening a second intake in the Local Government Development Approvals Program, a grant fund managed by the UBCM to implement best practices and test new approaches to improve development approvals.

Story continues below advertisement

“We also want you to have the capacity to reach out to other local governments and see what are they doing,” Eby said.

“Is something working better down the road, are there things you can coordinate together and be more efficient? You can’t do this if you don’t have the resources.”

In his speech, Eby also pledged $4.75 million to rural and volunteer firefighting teams across B.C. and $20 million to improve supports for people who must travel from rural communities for cancer treatment.

Sponsored content