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Big costs to be removed for new Delta low-cost rental housing

The bylaw is aimed at helping address a critical need for more affordable housing in Delta
ladner willows application
The Ladner Willows redevelopment would see a new 150-Unit non-market rental apartment building at 5625 Ladner Trunk Rd. It would have had to pay $911,850 in development cost charges.

Delta council at its May 30 meeting gave preliminary approval for a new bylaw aimed at encouraging more affordable non-profit housing in the city.

The bylaw waives development cost charges (DCC), a recommendation which originally came from the new Delta Housing Action Plan approved by council last fall.

A staff report notes such developments typically do not have the same available capital as for-profit developments, meaning that DCCs can represent a significant financial barrier to the provision of important affordable housing.

There are currently three in-stream not-for-profit housing developments in various stages of the review process in Delta, each of which would result in large DCC payments.

Those include the first two phases of the Evergreen Lane redevelopment in Ladner, the first phase of the KinVillage redevelopment in Tsawwassen and the redevelopment of Ladner Willows.

In total, the DCCs for all those projects would be over $3.2 million.

“Eligible developments would be owned, leased or otherwise held by a not-for-profit society, registered charity, or a governmental organization such as BC Housing, Metro Vancouver Housing, or the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). Eligible developments would be operated as rental housing for tenants that meet eligibility criteria described and would be secured by a minimum 60-year housing agreement or covenant with Delta,” the report explains.

“A development would receive a full DCC waiver if at least 30 percent of the units in the development are to be occupied by households with incomes either at or below BC Housing's Housing Income Limits (HILs), or if they would spend more than 30 percent of their income on alternative market housing in Delta. If a development has fewer than 30 percent of the units meeting this criteria, the waiver would only apply to those units, with the remainder of the units triggering the typical DCC payment.”

The report goes on to note that the bylaw has been drafted in such a manner so as to allow flexibility in supporting affordable housing projects.

The city is to make up the funding through other revenue sources such as property taxation and reserves or surpluses.