Those peddling a false narrative about the Lower Mainland’s housing crises should be ashamed of themselves, says a Delta city councillor.
Dylan Kruger isn’t mincing words when it comes to his take on the Union of B.C. Municipalities recently released report on the province’s housing supply, which concluded local governments have been approving enough supply to keep pace with population growth in B.C.
The report, Building BC: Housing Completions & Population Growth 2016-2021, states that resolving the affordable housing shortage is much more complex than just building more homes.
Between 2016 and 2021, the province’s population grew by 7.6 percent, while the number of dwellings grew 7.2 percent, the largest growth of any province or territory except the Yukon, the report found.
“UBCM representatives peddling the false narrative that municipalities should not be held to account for the housing affordability crisis in B.C. should be ashamed of themselves,” said Kruger. “It is an indisputable fact that we are living through a severe housing crisis with serious impacts on real people. No level of government has greater power to address the ongoing housing shortage than local government.”
Kruger said decades of exclusionary zoning practices have created an unprecedented situation where rental vacancy rates are at all-time lows and new buyers are priced out of the market entirely.
“Demand suppression tactics have failed. We don’t need more taxes. We need more housing,” added Kruger.
The UBCM report recommends a Demand Management Strategy to address a wide range of housing affordability pressures including speculative investment and short-term rentals.
However, B.C. Housing Minister David Eby recently reiterated the province may take the final decision-making authority for housing permit approvals out of the hands of local governments, saying the status quo was no longer acceptable.
According to the Delta’s Housing Needs Assessment report, which helped formulate the city’s new Housing Action Plan, even though more apartments and townhouses are being built, the city’s housing stock is still mostly single-detached houses.
According to numbers released by Delta’s planning department, land development applications increased in 2021 by 20 per cent from 2020.
The proposals have become more complex such as multi-unit, mixed-use and industrial proposals across Delta.