Metro Vancouver defies feds, approves tripling of development charges

Metro Vancouver’s board of directors approved new development cost charges (DCCs) on Friday that will triple fees imposed on new construction projects.

The board had considered putting these development cost increases on hold for a year due to concerns raised by the federal government, but ultimately the decision was made to go ahead with these new charges — which will add more than $10,000 in new fees for each housing unit.

Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser warned Metro Vancouver about making this move ahead of this vote, suggesting it could cause the senior government to rethink housing funding.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West says he feels these fees are needed, and says the federal government’s concern isn’t about affordability — rather he thinks it’s about politics. In fact, West says the idea of the federal government framing their concern around affordability is “somewhat laughable.”

“This is just the latest iteration … I don’t believe for one minute that delaying or even scrapping this DCC would result in one iota of affordable housing being built. Not one, and I welcome someone proving me otherwise,” he said.

West says that, in recent years, Port Coquitlam had the lowest development charges in the region while not having the most affordable housing prices. As a result, he explains that developers didn’t hesitate to sell housing units at market value and take home better profits.

West says this increase has been in the works for a long time, adding he’s “lost track of the number of meetings” where an increase in development charges is the topic of discussion.

“It’s not something that’s materialized overnight,” he said.

Around a month ago, Fraser and the federal government postponed an announcement of tens of millions of dollars of funding for housing in Surrey and Burnaby over this dispute.

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