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Delta South MLA wants province to end float home moratorium

Paton points out float homes are in the City of Delta’s Official Community Plan and Ladner Area Plan
City staff note float homes ‘provide one of many possible means to increase housing supply in Delta.’ Sandor Gyarmati photo

Delta council recently gave final approval for a zoning amendment for 11 side-by-side vacant waterfront properties includes new float homes, although those won’t be added anytime soon.

The properties at 6291 to 6351 River Rd. will have houses upland and float homes, if eventually permitted by the province, fronting them.

Council several years prior approved a different application for the site, which would have seen larger float homes and smaller upland houses allowed, but the province later announced it would not be accepting any more applications for floating home communities.

There’s no indication if or when that policy will change, or whether there will be public consultation.

The moratorium includes both aquatic Crown and float home communities and is reviewed every 24 months. The current moratorium goes until March 2025.

Delta South MLA Ian Paton recently submitted a request to Nathan Cullen, Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, asking the government when a new Provincial Land Operational (PLO) policy and float home pricing will be established, saying float homes offer another affordable housing option.

Noting his constituency includes float home operations at Ladner Reach Marina, Canoe Pass Village and West-Del Marina, the BC United MLA noted Delta needs to be able to provide even more housing options, given the demand for that type of housing and the fact the province included the municipality in a first list of communities that will be given housing targets.

“Float home operators have been told that due to the lack of a PLO policy, the South Coast Region is not able to accept float home applications, including those that are supported by City plans,” wrote Paton.

“Despite this strict moratorium, variances to this policy are being approved on a subjective basis, as seems to be the case with the proposed Squamish floating home development in partnership with First Nations.”

Paton also wrote, “As a targeted community by the Ministry of Housing, we would like to ensure that all available options are allowed to flourish in Delta South, particularly options that are below market housing options.”

A City of Delta staff response notes that the Riverside Area Plan recognizes existing float home communities in the Port Guichon East and Canoe Pass neighbourhoods, and encourages limited additional residential development, including float homes, on the water side of River Road and other select areas.

“Staff support opportunities for further clarity on the Provincial regulatory regime as it relates to the development of new float homes, in conjunction with the development of a sustainable dredging strategy,” the response memo notes.