For many years, people have raised concerns that the decades-old development approval process is inefficient and adds too much complexity, cost and uncertainty for homebuilders.
This presents a challenge to addressing the urgent need for homes that people can afford. To tackle this challenge, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing initiated a review of the process at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in 2018, involving stakeholders and community representatives from throughout the province.
While the development approval process plays an important role in ensuring developments are healthy and safe, the need to make the process more effective and efficient was a common theme among stakeholders.
Over six months, 11 meetings were held in in Nanaimo, Prince George, Kelowna and Vancouver with UBCM, local government officials and staff, developers and homebuilders, non-profit housing representatives, community neighbourhood representatives and academics. They spent hours working together to identify both challenges with current processes and practical ideas for improvement.
Many ideas were identified through these conversations, from small tweaks to big, bold changes to the system. Collectively, these span six core topic areas:
- local government application processes;
- local government approval processes;
- development finance tools;
- provincial referrals and regulatory requirements; and
- overarching ideas, such as training and the provision of resources for all participants in the development approvals process.
These ideas have been captured in a report shared with participants and are now available online.
As a next step, the Province will work with local governments and UBCM to improve current development approval processes, including through supporting interested local governments to turn a number of these ideas into pilot projects.
Other phases of work will respond to additional ideas identified in the report. Many of these are complex and will take time and detailed consultation with stakeholders and other experts to fully explore and consider.
The actions being undertaken to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the development approval processes in B.C. will help ensure local governments have the land-use planning tools they need to help meet their housing needs and continue to build thriving and resilient communities.
- Eighty-eight community stakeholders participated in the Development Approval Process Review consultations.
- More than 70 challenges and opportunities for improvement were identified.
Read the Final Report on Development Approvals Processes Review Consultations: