Promote Local Government Best Practices

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Municipalities across British Columbia have unique needs. Housing prices and cost of living vary across the province, and local governments have differing resources available to them.

Best Practices

In the best circumstances, this leads to local governments finding creative solutions to suit their particular needs. Since municipalities deal most closely with local issues, they are often best positioned to respond to local concerns. They can act as incubators, allowing for innovation and experimentation.

Unfortunately, innovation isn’t always the order of the day. In fact, sometimes local government processes contribute to housing affordability challenges. For example, in many communities, new housing is often subject to slow permit processes, along with development cost charges and community amenity contributions that increase costs for builders and homebuyers.

Communities have a lot of room for creativity in the area of gentle densification. By rezoning to allow for family-oriented housing along transit corridors, local governments will help match housing supply with demand, maximize investments in transit and contribute to climate change goals.

Recommendations for the BC government:
  • Ensure local governments levy development cost charges and community amenity contributions appropriate to the impact of development.
  • Increase the supply of affordable, market, ground-oriented, family (three-bedroom) homes along transit corridors in lower density neighbourhoods using Property Transfer Tax revenue. For example, the province could provide financial incentives to municipalities fast tracking medium-density projects—townhomes, co-housing and cooperatives—to help defray the costs of accelerated planning and rezoning.
  • Encourage improvements in the municipal development application process, such as reduced turnaround times for obtaining construction permits.