Victoria builders oppose city’s housing policy proposals

by Steve Randall11 Jun 2019

The City of Victoria will meet Thursday to review a proposed Inclusionary Housing and Density Bonus policy, something the region’s builders warn is a bad move.

The policy would require that 30% of new strata projects meet the city’s affordability criteria.

The proposals are being opposed by the Victoria Residential Builders Association which says the regulatory burden and costs will add to an already-weakened housing market.

The city’s report it says that all members of the working group expressed in-principle support for achieving a mix of cash and inclusionary housing units.

But VRBA was not part of the working group and says that it does not support the city’s “spiralling density bonus fees and inclusionary housing requirements assigned to the mortgages of new homebuyers, driving up home prices.”

In a letter to the city council, the association’s executive director Casey Edge writes:

“Since 2016, the city has collected millions of dollars from new development. The report also says, ‘Additionally, there are currently 15 pending rezoning applications proposing approximately $11,000,000 in cash CACs, 500 purpose built rental units, and 80 on-site affordable or market rental units.'”

But the association says this is never enough and is calling for rezoning to allow higher density, improving permit processes, and avoiding unnecessary fees, taxes, and regulations.

“Social programs, including housing are the responsibility of taxpayers at large, not the mortgages of new homebuyers. BC Housing, CMHC and other government agencies have the mandate to fund affordable housing projects including partnerships with developers. In addition, the province and federal government collect billions of dollars in Property Transfer Tax and GST from new housing to provide these social programs,” added Edge.

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