B.C. Housing Minister Advocates for 10,000 New Homes Amid Challenges in Construction Industry

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Traditionally, building homes hasn’t been the prerogative of B.C. cities but rather the responsibility of private developers – a trend looking to maintain its momentum. “Undoubtedly, the path will be riddled with obstacles,” informed Ravi Kahlon, the Housing Minister of B.C., during a press briefing held in Saanich on Tuesday.

Saanich, in conjunction with Victoria and Oak Bay, now has a clear vision of how many residential dwellings mandated to be constructed within their jurisdictions over the next half a decade. The target, collectively, amounts to more than 10,000 homes. “Each community is urged to take calculated measures today to hasten local methodologies in order to facilitate more prompt housing development,” added Kahlon.

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Impressed by the province’s fervor, Luke Mari, proprietor of Aryze Developments in Victoria expressed, “The province’s intent on taking proactive steps is remarkably encouraging.”

Having spent numerous years constructing multifamily housing in the region, Mari and developers like him will prove quintessential if these targets are to be met. But the path is laden with hurdles, as Mari confirmed, “The challenges are undeniably daunting currently.” High interest rates, mounting cost of building materials, and a deficiency of labor all conspire against development presently.

The only avenue open for developers like him is to concentrate on facets within their grasp – that the municipalities can streamline the procedure of preparing things for construction. Delays, by months or even years, accumulate additional expenditure for developers, and these fluctuations inevitably get transferred to the buyer.

However, Mari contends if cumbersome regulations are simplified, it might alleviate the escalating costs currently being grappled with.

According to Robert Berry, a voluntary worker with Homes For Living, Saanich, Oak Bay, and Victoria will require quadruple the amount of units targeted by the NDP over the next five years. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently suggested on the current pace, B.C. will face a deficit of 610,000 housing units by 2030 to restore affordability to 2004 levels, as per Berry.

He proposes that these municipalities are slackening in their efforts and that the targets are far from adequate. He predicts Saanich and Victoria will comfortably hit their five-year goals. In stark contrast, he believes, “Oak Bay will necessitate the province to wrest control of land-use powers from the city council.”

In response, the province asserts it will reclaim authority from any municipalities failing to meet their housing objectives. “The very premise that the province is stepping in and outlining mandates is a remarkable stride previously unseen,” Mari observed.

In its quest to foster speedy construction of more homes, the province is receiving commendations from both developers and housing advocates. The ball now lies squarely in the court of the municipalities to adopt and integrate this development into their communities.