Housing Supply Takes Centre Stage During GL Days Live Sessions
BCREA would like to thank all the REALTORS® who participated in this year's annual Government Liaison (GL) Days live sessions on May 4 and 5. Realtors from across the province convened virtually to learn about policies to address the two issues of improving housing supply and energy efficiency in homes.
In addition to discussion around the topics with BCREA staff and Counsel Public Affairs, this year's sessions also included presentations from Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby and Global BC's Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey.
Minister Eby echoed the importance of solutions to housing affordability through increasing supply. We were encouraged to hear that the Minister is "currently working on the implementation of the Development Approvals Process Review (DAPR) report in partnership with municipalities."
One policy from the DAPR report that the province should immediately implement is reducing unnecessary public hearings. While we support fulsome public engagement, ineffective and redundant hearings can favour those opposed to development. To accomplish this, BCREA recommends the BC Government conduct a provincial policy review to consider tying development approvals to housing targets and provide local governments with training and best practices.
Minister Eby also said that there were opportunities to increase density along transit corridors. This aligns with BCREA's recommendation to encourage local governments to replace single-family homes with "Missing Middle" housing options in neighbourhoods accessible to transit. "Missing Middle" housing is a range of multi-unit or clustered housing types compatible with single-family homes, such duplexes, triplexes and townhouses.
Baldrey shared behind-the-scenes stories of how MLAs responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, he contrasted Premier John Horgan's response to COVID-19 with other premiers in Ontario and Manitoba. Premier Horgan made the decision to take a backseat and let Minister of Health Adrian Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry lead the way on many issues, while in Ontario and Manitoba the Premier continued to stay in the spotlight. In hindsight, Premier Horgan made a politically savvy decision, as it allowed the BC NDP to call an election and form a majority government, while Premier Ford and Premier Pallister have taken recent nosedives in popularity.
The next step for Realtors is to take the lessons learned from the virtual sessions and accompanying resources into their meetings with MLAs to advocate for solutions to increase housing supply and improve energy efficiency of homes.
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