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Should the City of Delta acquire land for housing?

The strategy seeks to make land more available to support Delta's housing needs
priority housing in the city of delta, bc
Stakeholders identified the potential for community opposition to the City of Delta buying land and setting it aside for non-market housing projects.

Does the City of Delta need to acquire land for housing?

That’s one of the recommendations in the city’s draft housing action plan recently discussed at council.

After having completed another round of public and stakeholder consultation, staff have worked out what will be the strategies to be part of the final plan to be completed later this year.

Among those strategies is for Delta to explore ways to increase land availability for so-called priority housing.

That housing includes expanding rental options, housing options that suit an aging population and greater supply of supportive and accessible units.

The availability of land is one of the most important factors for creating feasible non-market housing projects, a staff report notes.

The report adds that the strategy received strong support in the online survey with respondents noting the desire to balance the city’s land needs, such as land set aside for natural reserves and recreation, the need for any city land use to result in community benefit and the need to prioritize the development of affordable housing.

However, stakeholders also identified the potential for community opposition, as well as the cost, affordability and location of priority housing.

The report identifies several actions including the city integrating housing as a priority area for potential land acquisition and identifying city lands that may be redeveloped in the future, such as community centres or other sites, to accommodate housing capacity.

Another recommended action is for the city to monitor and support opportunities to allow new residential uses on other community-owned or institutional lands, such as places of worship, or other non-profit re-developments where appropriate and feasible.

A separate housing assessment report notes that among the considerations is NIMBYism ("not in my backyard") which could be a concern in the acquisition of land.

Other concerns include appropriate siting and costs.

Implementation could involve partnerships with other organizations.

Coun. Lois Jackson, at council last week, noted she’s concerned that Delta is “land poor” when it comes to municipally-owned property and what it may involve to convert what little inventory is available.

She said the city somehow has to look at acquiring more land for green space as the population grows.

The draft housing plan will be completed this spring and that will be followed by another round of consultations.