In my final week as VRBA President, I want to thank everyone for reading this column and all of the positive feedback.
Throughout the year, we advocated for improvements to address housing affordability and consumer protection. These include:
- a renovation rebate or tax credit for seismic safety and asbestos mitigation;
- removal of three Property Transfer Taxes on the development of a single new home;
- removal of the Speculation Tax on British Columbians’ vacation and retirement homes;
- mandatory rezoning for missing middle housing and more efficient permit processes;
- regional governance and planning to support housing, and transportation such as LRT;
- harmonization with the National Building Code’s approved energy efficiency levels in the interests of health and safety and affordability;
- a cap on building permit fees and DCC’s, as well as removal of CAC’s recommended in the province’s Opening Doors Report;
- indexing the GST New Home Rebate to inflation as promised in 1990 when it was introduced.
Through this column, we have tried to initiate more discussion of housing challenges, including multiple municipal councils and Official Community Plans, the result of BC’s policy of municipal self-determination.
A regional governance model would support responsible regional planning for housing and infrastructure such as transportation. LRT construction to the West Shore should already be underway if the province is serious about GHG reduction.
That said, the provincial government recently promised to make housing more accessible through mandatory rezonings and more efficient application processes – measures already undertaken in Ontario through their “More Homes Built Faster Act.”
In light of BC’s similar commitments, we look forward to a brighter and more affordable future for our region.
Thank you for your support! I have enjoyed my year as VRBA President and offer best wishes to my successor, Ellie Sercombe, President- Elect.