BC sets out plan to modernize housing approvals

by Steve Randall26 Sep 2019

The building approvals process in British Columbia is in need a makeover to make it more efficient.

The Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing initiated a review of the process at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in 2018 and now the findings of that review are published in a new report.

A common theme of the feedback received was the need to make the approval process more effective and efficient while still ensuring that buildings are safe and healthy.

Meetings have been held across the province to identify what is needed to improve the system for all stakeholders, with the findings sitting within 6 categories:

  • local government application processes;
  • local government approval processes;
  • development finance tools;
  • subdivision;
  • provincial referrals and regulatory requirements; and
  • overarching ideas, such as training and the provision of resources for all participants in the development approvals process.

The report, which is available on the bc.gov.ca website and includes suggestions of how to boost affordable housing and address the challenges of climate change.

It also acknowledges that the expectations of development have changes over the years and the development industry has grown and changed too with competition for lots meaning shorter option periods, creating greater risk.

As a next step, the province will work with local governments and UBCM to improve current development approval processes, including through supporting interested local governments to turn a number of these ideas into pilot projects.

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