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Delta group urging faster action on housing solutions

The group will host a public forum on housing on Sept. 21
Norm Van Eeden Petersman 1
Norm Van Eeden Petersman says amending the Official Community Plans to integrate medium-density residential into existing neighbourhoods is one way Delta can create a more equitable distribution of housing.

Local residents who got together to form their own Delta housing advocacy group have come up with a checklist of what they say would be the ideal candidate running for city council.

Holding a free public information meeting later this month, DEL  POP (Better Land Use, More Housing) formed following a public hearing on relaxing the city requirements for secondary suites. They hope the city will take quicker, more decisive action to open the door for a wider range of more affordable housing types. 

Spokesperson Norm Van Eeden Petersman told the Optimist that those elected need to show the political will to implement long-overdue changes, including the recommendations put forward in the new Delta Housing Action Plan.

“We’re a group that’s coming forward to speak up on things we’re in favour of, rather than just opposed to things. We spoke in favour of projects including the (high-rise) tower on Scott Road and wanted to make it clear there’s a real need. One of the things we wanted to ensure was that council hear from more members of the community than the usual suspects,” he said.

Van Eeden Petersman said the housing action plan document contains good insights into the challenges the city faces when it comes to the issue, including the lack of housing for older residents looking to downsize as well as more affordable types for younger people wanting to remain in the community, and contains clear strategies on how to address those needs.

“The challenge is that the implementation will require boldness because many of the pieces are hedged with something to explore or study. Those are very limited actions, when instead we should be focusing on very clear revisions of our zoning bylaw to allow missing-middle housing to be constructed, things like apartments and duplexes, for example. It’s a good start, but what it’s crying out for is implementation and that has to happen soon,” he added.

DEL POP notes that, in its opinion, an ideal candidate for council in the Oct. 15 municipal election will, among other things, not only commit to responsible progress, but also housing choices and lightened zoning, as well as varied transportation choices and giving residents the ability to drive less, and also improved quality of public spaces.

The group notes that “countless proposals to introduce more housing in Delta have been shut down by delays, negativity, uncertainty and unnecessary requirements.”

DEL POP is hosting a free public forum on housing, called Breaking out of the Housing Trap, featuring a presentation and question-and-answer session with guest speaker Charles Marohn, President and Founder of Strong Towns.

The forum will take place Wednesday, Sept. 21 at Ladner United Church (4960 48 Ave.) starting at 7:15 p.m.
For more information about DEL POP or its upcoming event, check