A new administration will be governing BC, and change is always accompanied by opportunity.
British Columbians have identified housing affordability as the biggest challenge in a province where prices are more than $150,000 over the national average.
Solutions are not rocket-science, but do require political will. They include:
- Enable the minister to amalgamate municipalities when in the best interests of proper regional planning for housing, transportation, and water and sewer infrastructure;
- Establish actionable affordable housing targets for all communities;
- Establish efficient development and permit timelines, and affordable fees enforced by the province and reviewed periodically;
- Require fact-based, scientific third-party analysis of environmental considerations in urban containment areas;
- Create enforceable Best Practices for Community Association Land Use Committees;
- Require new building regs to meet cost/benefit tests, proven practice and education standards before approval;
- Establish a single building code, enforced by the province, and improved periodically rather than the Step Code’s array of options chosen by 160 municipalities risking unintended consequences and undermining consumer protection;
- Remove multiple Property Transfer Tax charges on the development of a single home;
- Create a renovation tax credit encouraging energy efficiency retrofits, asbestos mitigation and seismic upgrades in a region where a catastrophic earthquake is a certainty.
These are just a few common-sense suggestions.
What has been lacking in BC for decades is the political will to require responsible regional planning and land use, efficient and affordable development processes, and a provincially enforced building code standard.
However, another governance change has arrived, always accompanied by opportunity.