B.C. housing critic raises concerns about zoning changes

B.C.’s housing critic says there is more to think about before zoning rules can truly change the housing landscape in the province.

Karin Kirkpatrick, MLA for West Vancouver Capilano, says changes to help neighbourhoods densify quickly must be implemented strategically, or there is a risk of newer issues.

“If you’re going to start to go from single families to fourplexes or sixplexes in areas that are far away from transit that don’t have the proper infrastructure, it’s going to be problemetic. They’re going to have to upgrade electrical (and) sewer,” she says.

Last November, the province announced it would fix the “outdated zoning rules” that limited new housing being built in the form of condos or single-family homes. The amendment would allow people to build more small-scale housing units, like townhomes, triplexes, and laneway homes across the province.

“It’s going to allow for young families to have access to homes with a backyard, a third bedroom — that currently is limited to two-bedroom condos — or upgrade to a single-family house. This will provide a significant opportunity for residents in our community,” Bill Laidler with Laidler Development told CityNews.

These zoning rules were meant to make it easier for homeowners and buyers to get into the housing market. But if municipalities failed to meet the June 30 deadline, the province says it will be rubber-stamping building applications outside of unique circumstances.

“Things like steep slopes or unstable ground, something like a feasibility concern, then there are some options for cities to delay. Otherwise, the province is going to step in and implement them for each city,” Laidler said.

With files from Michael Williams.

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