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Delta draft OCP coming, while Metro conveys housing concerns

The city notes the housing order and other changes will bring an estimated 31,000 new residents to Delta over the next 20 years
City of Delta Engineering Director Steven Lan at an open house last month explains the changes in the proposed OCP update. Sandor Gyarmati photo

The City of Delta has wrapped up gathering feedback on proposed major changes to the Official Community Plan (OCP).

Staff are now compiling the results and preparing a draft plan for the community and council to consider.

A final draft is to be ready later this month and a public hearing is to be scheduled, eventually followed by statutory reviews and approvals.

The updated OCP is to help Delta meet a five-year housing target given by the province to create 3,607 net new housing units, as well as requirements of the provincial government’s recent housing legislation.

The proposed Delta changes are largely focused on three big moves: increasing development opportunities in urban centres, allowing small-scale multi-unit housing and simplifying land use descriptions.

Meanwhile, concerns regarding the plethora of changes in the province’s new legislation were once again highlighted in a recent Metro Vancouver staff report to the Mayors’ Committee.

Engagement with member jurisdictions and elected officials since the introduction of the legislation has led to several common concerns and regionally significant issues being identified, the report notes.

“Although it is not anticipated that the provincial government will make any significant moves to step back from the new legislation, continued engagement and advocacy with the province will be critical to mitigate the shared concerns and issues that are being raised by local governments in the region. While Metro Vancouver has an important role to play to help coordinate a regional response, advocacy efforts will be multi-faceted and will involve separate efforts from individual local governments and UBCM,” the report notes.

The report also notes that, based on discussions and feedback from member jurisdictions, several advocacy areas have been identified that would be relevant and appropriate for Metro Vancouver to advance to the province including the need for improved alignment with Metro 2050, which is the regional district’s long-term growth plan, as well as support for non-market and affordable housing.

Another key area of concern is infrastructure, as local governments have long advocated for adequate, predictable long-term funding from the provincial and federal governments for critical infrastructure. There are concerns that the new provincial legislation will exasperate the infrastructure challenges in the region, the Metro report warns.

“It will be imperative that senior levels of government address how housing-enabling infrastructure will be funded to support current growth trends and targets. Metro Vancouver, in its capacity as a federation, can advocate for the provincial and federal governments to increase funding support for local governments to address this growing demand on infrastructure. This would complement Metro Vancouver’s Intergovernmental Relations Strategy, which seeks increased funding in support of Metro Vancouver’s critical infrastructure projects,” the report adds.