Have you read the Final report of the Canada-British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability? Have you been through the nine appendices?
In their report, the panel made 23 recommendations to:
– increase the supply of housing; and
– deepen affordability.
While a major emphasis of the report is on mandating municipalities to improve the permitting process, the report also makes recommendations to provincial and federal governments.
The established culture in this province is that community benefits are provided by growth rather than taxation of existing residents. Municipal staff and Councils alike have been acculturated to “get goodies” with development. This approach directly contradicts actions to increase housing supply and deepen affordability.
As the panel suggests, the municipal approvals process needs to be accelerated and some effective ways to do this include: housing needs reports, OCP updates, pre-zoning, as well as reforming how fees and benefits are collected.
Subsidized housing requires subsidy. While the municipalities are a major part of the housing problem, the provincial and federal governments are also accountable. All levels of governments need to be collaborating on deeply affordable housing.
85% (about 170 of 200) projects remained unfunded after the recent BC Housing Community Housing Fund announcements. That many non-profit organizations and hundreds of industry volunteers invested thousands of hours of energy and passion in service of the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Some argue that the millions of dollars’ worth of pro-bono work helped build relationships and tool the industry for future projects. In my view, it was an unproductive use of time and talent because it will not result in new supply.
The dominant contributor to the housing crisis is the municipal approvals process. Now is the time for dialogue about specific reforms that are needed.