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Affordability Workshop Dispels Housing Myths

Last week the CRD held a workshop on affordability for their housing strategy,

Non-profits and the private sector reported struggling with municipal regulations, rising fees and lengthy approval processes.

Non-profits provide affordable housing for the disadvantaged in our community, yet they often encounter obstacles similar to private developers.

In addition, economy of scale for large condo projects is being eroded by requirements such as underground parking.

A parking stall adds tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a unit, helping to significantly surpass the cost per sq ft of a single family home.

Add city council demands for amenities, rising permit fees and energy efficiency, and it’s no wonder there is a trend toward micro-units.

Economy of scale for condos is assumed by elected officials making development decisions, but the model has become more myth than reality, particularly in downtown Victoria.

Other discussions included the suggestion that contractors are interested in building only luxury homes.

However, it was pointed out that land value and the market determine construction. It is not practical, nor marketable to build a small affordable home on a large lot valued at $800,000.

The challenge is many CRD municipalities oppose rezoning large properties to smaller lots, preventing small affordable homes.

Examples of affordable market housing are available on the CRD’s doorstep.

Langford has been delivering new affordable housing for years by embracing small lots, legal suites and efficient development processes.

Affordable market housing is possible, but only if communities adopt successful examples available in their own backyard.

The workshop offered plenty to illuminate the CRD’s housing strategy in the upcoming year.

We will see if it finds its way into regional planning.

Visit us at www.vrba.ca and www.careawards.ca. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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