Reactions to the government’s “People’s Home” plan have ranged from “ambitious” to inadequate to deceitful.
Premier David Eby and Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced the plan on Monday (April 3). Broadly speaking, the plan includes increasing density in areas currently zoned for single dwellings and close to transit, legalizing secondary suites and providing financial incentives for homeowners to build such suites, expanding existing speculation and vacancy taxes to other regions and enact a policy designed to discourage flipping properties.
Eby told a news conference that the government must “leave no stone unturned” in addressing urgent housing needs, which he said reflected 16 years of inaction by the previous government and record population growth.
Jen Ford, president of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, said the “ambitious” plan follows the lines previously announced.
“I think we’ve heard from a lot of different parties to address the continuity of housing supply and use and we certainly representing the 188 local governments are encouraged to continue to engage with the program and understand the impact on different communities and ultimately how it affects life in the People who are in and contribute to our community and are part of our community.”
One of the centerpieces of the plan is increasing the density of lots that are now zoned for single-family homes.
Under promised fall legislation, three, four or even more units, if close to public transit, will become permissible.
“This will be a province-wide policy,” Housing Minister Ravi Cullen said at the time.
Ford said many municipalities want to increase the supply of affordable housing, and the proposal is taking action toward that goal. But she also called for “substantive consultations” with the provincial government.
“We’ve been asking the provincial government on a broad range of housing issues, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution,” she said, adding that it would be difficult to comment on the announcement without seeing the proposed regulations. Comment.
But she predicts the proposed changes will be the subject of discussion during an upcoming housing summit.
“(If) there are questions about a change of jurisdiction, we certainly know how it affects our members.”
Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto, who attended Monday’s announcement, welcomed the plan, adding that the city was actually pursuing more ambitious goals in building the “missing middle” of housing.
BC Green House leader Adam Olsen said the plan has “a lot of positive” promise.
“On the face of it, the second-home pilot financial incentive scheme, the flip tax and the promise of better regulation of short-term rentals are all policies we need to explore,” he said. “However, the BC NDP did not provide enough detail for us to assess the impact of these policies.”
These proposals need to be more explicit, he added.
The BC Liberals echoed the criticism for the lack of details, and further accused the NDP of backing away from previous promises and fudged numbers.
West Vancouver-Capilano MP and shadow housing minister Karin Kirkpatrick said Abby’s plan was nothing more than an acknowledgment of his government’s inability to meet the NDP’s original promise to build 114,000 units by 2028 Housing Commitment.
“British Columbians know housing affordability has continued to deteriorate under his administration, and they are tired of waiting for action,” she said. “Unfortunately, this so-called new housing plan, much of which contains previously announced or delayed promises, and a message crafted to hide the NDP’s slow progress, is not at all refreshing.”
Five years into their 10-year plan, the NDP has built only 15,783 new homes, or 13.8 percent of what they promised, she added.
Government figures suggest the figure is higher, partly because it counts previously vacant homes that are now in use. In 2018, the program announced the creation of 74,688 units, according to a technical brief.
Of all units, approximately 42,431 are open and 17,484 are under construction. Another 14,753 are in the planning stage.
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