A municipal government report that says British Columbia is building enough homes to match the province’s population growth has drawn heavy criticism from the housing minister.
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities report released Wednesday said data shows enough homes are being built to match the province’s growing population, but the number of affordable homes and rental properties is lacking.
David Eby, attorney general and minister responsible for housing, said the report’s findings that house building is keeping pace with population growth are at odds with the experiences of people looking to rent or buy homes in the province.
“At the same time we have all the indicators of a shortage of housing to buy and rent and all the indicators of unprecedented levels of immigration to British Columbia, UBCM releases a report that we are approving enough housing in British Columbia. Eby said in an interview.
“I don’t understand,” he said. “I guess I was more hopeful that we would see a report on how municipalities could help provide more housing and what they think the province could do to help them.”
Union president Laurey-Anne Roodenburg said the report concludes solving the province’s affordable housing crisis is more complex than simply telling local governments to increase permit approvals to build more homes.
There are other factors involved in limiting local housing developments beyond municipal approvals and they range from shortages of skilled workers to provincial government bureaucracy, she said.
The report says that between 2016 and 2021, British Columbia’s population grew by 7.6%, while the number of homes grew by 7.2%, the fastest growth of any other province or territory. than the Yukon.
Roodenburg said the report is in reaction to recent comments by Eby, who said municipal governments were delaying property developments in their communities and that he was preparing to introduce legislation to remove their final project approval powers. .
“He really needs to take a hard look at what he’s trying to accomplish,” she said. “The majority of local governments are increasing their housing supply. They come up with innovative ideas. »
Roodenburg said the report calls for a more collaborative approach between local, provincial and federal governments to build more affordable housing in the province.
“I think we all do better when we sit down and try to get things done,” she said. “We don’t want bridges to be burned here. We just want him to recognize that our data tells a different story than what he says.
Eby said a Tuesday meeting with Roodenburg offered some hope for finding ways to build more housing, but there was still work to be done.
“Maybe it opens the door for us to identify those ways of working together, but I have to say the context of saying we’re already building enough housing is very strange to me, just knowing what’s going on in terms of people moving to British Columbia and asking for it there.
— Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press