A new provincial funding commitment of $61 million will support local governments building capacity to meet new housing-density initiatives, including the implementation of anticipated changes to development approval processes, planning and zoning, such as small-scale multi-unit housing.
“Our plan to rezone single-family lots throughout the province will allow for an influx of urgently needed housing people can actually afford to rent or buy like duplexes, triplexes and townhouses,” said Premier David Eby. “We know this is going to be an adjustment for some local governments, but we need to take urgent action together. That’s why we’re providing local governments with support to implement these changes, improve their development-approval processes and connect with other communities to share ideas and best practices.”
The $61-million capacity funding is split into two streams. The first stream is a $51-million commitment through Budget 2023 to support local governments so they can meet new requirements that promote the Province’s housing-density initiatives. The funding will be distributed over three years and will help support efforts to accelerate local government housing approval processes and build the homes people need.
“We know we’re in a housing crisis and people are in desperate need of housing,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “This funding will help communities improve their processes to build more homes faster. We’ve heard from local governments about the demands to ensure we build the housing people need, while trying to speed up approval processes, and we are here to support them with funding to increase their capacity during this transition so we can increase housing supply.”
A further provincial investment of $10 million will create a second intake for the Local Government Development Approvals Program (LGDAP), an application-based grant fund managed by the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) created in 2021. LGDAP grants support local government-initiated projects to implement best practices and test innovative approaches to improve their development approval processes.
“Local governments are working hard to address the housing crisis and have identified concerns about the additional capacity needs that will arise from the Province’s housing action plan,” said Jen Ford, president of UBCM. “We look forward to learning more about this program and welcome the funding in support of the Province’s housing goals.”
In addition to the capacity funding, the Province is supporting the Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC) to develop and implement a new peer-learning network (PLN) to help local government staff share existing best practices and innovative approaches to streamline development approvals and advance housing supply.
Once operational, the PLN will help local-government professionals build capacity for streamlining development approvals and increasing housing supply through education with local governments, planners and stakeholders acting simultaneously as both teachers and learners. It will also provide a space for local government staff members to engage and learn about new housing-supply initiatives and legislative implementation.
“PIBC is excited to be part of this new multi-year initiative with the Province of B.C.,” said Emilie K. Adin, president of PIBC. “Sharing knowledge, emerging best practices, and on-the-ground experience amongst planners and other local government professionals will assist our members in their critical work. We know this collaboration will help communities meet today’s challenges with respect to housing needs and development pressures. We’re pleased that the peer-learning network can also serve as a conduit in providing feedback from our members back to the Province on recent and coming legislative changes.”
These initiatives are part of the Province’s Homes for People action plan. Announced in spring 2023, the plan builds on record investments in housing since 2017, and sets out several actions to deliver the homes people need in a shorter time while creating more vibrant communities throughout B.C.
- The Province launched the Development Approvals Process Review in 2018 to support local governments to move forward more efficiently on developments, bypassing barriers and speeding up housing approvals.
- The first intake of LGDAP saw nearly $15 million awarded to 43 local government projects across B.C. in 2021.
- The Province has provided PIBC with $500,000 in funding to support the PLN’s development and implementation, with an expected launch in winter 2024.
To read the Homes for People action plan, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Homes_For_People.pdf
To access the Single Window for provincial housing permitting and authorizations, visit: https://permitconnectbc.gov.bc.ca/