B.C. Government Documents Expose 47 Municipalities Placed on Housing 'Naughty List' - Fifth Avenue REM mediaiqdigital tracking pixel
Market Intelligence | June 9, 2023

Growth Cities and Smaller Communities Alike, Including Burnaby, Surrey, Langford, White Rock, Pitt Meadows, and North Cowichan, Added to Expanded Housing ‘Naughty List’

Government Order-in-Council Unveils 47 Municipalities Mandated to Boost Housing Production, Following B.C. Housing Minister’s Announcement of Initial 10 Targets.

In the recent week, the housing minister of British Columbia unveiled the initial ten municipalities obligated to fulfill forthcoming housing targets. However, a government order-in-council has disclosed the complete list of 47 municipalities that are expected to enhance their housing production in the near future.

Municipalities deemed to be on what has been referred to as “the naughty list” will be required to authorize a diverse range of housing options, such as townhomes, multi-family buildings, condos, and below-market housing.


The housing targets are scheduled to be established in the coming summer, granting municipalities a six-month period to demonstrate progress. The selection of municipalities was conducted using a weighted index that considered various factors, including the urgency of housing needs, projected population growth, land availability, and housing affordability.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon announced that an additional 10 municipalities will be chosen and notified later this year, although it remains uncertain which municipalities from the order-in-council will be included.

Tom Davidoff, the executive director of UBC Sauder School of Business’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate, who contributed to the development of the metrics used in municipality selection, expressed surprise at the exclusion of Whistler from the list. Given the grievances of seasonal workers and individuals in the hospitality industry regarding the scarcity of housing, its absence came as a surprise.

According to Davidoff, “It is evident that the selected areas are those widely recognized to face significant housing challenges. The list appears to noticeably lack representation from small municipalities in the Interior or the northern parts of Vancouver Island.”

Expressing skepticism, Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog questions the effectiveness of the housing targets in increasing housing supply and affordability. He acknowledges the importance of ensuring housing for people but doubts whether the mere establishment of targets can achieve that goal. Krog raises concerns about meeting the targets if the government is not actively involved in building housing and if the private sector’s pace slows down.

Furthermore, Krog expresses satisfaction that Nanaimo was not included in the “top 10 bad list,” as the city is already processing a substantial number of building permits and approvals. He believes that Nanaimo does not require a list or additional incentives, as significant progress is already being made in housing development.


Concerns over Lack of Transparency and Methodology in Municipality Selection

Karin Kirkpatrick, the housing critic for B.C. United, has raised concerns about the lack of transparency in the selection process of the initial 10 municipalities by the B.C. NDP government.

Kirkpatrick, who serves as the MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano, finds it challenging to comprehend the scoring methodology used to evaluate various factors. She emphasizes the need for clarity on how housing needs, including homelessness and social housing, are calculated.

In the event that communities fail to meet the targets within the given six-month timeframe, the province will step in and appoint an independent adviser to assist them in making progress. If this approach proves ineffective, the province will assert greater authority and have the power to override the municipality. This includes the ability to rezone entire neighborhoods to increase density.

Krog stated, “Using a stick isn’t necessarily the most effective approach. A carrot would be more beneficial.”

During the initial announcement of the housing targets through the Housing Supply Act, Premier David Eby assured that communities that meet the housing requirements would receive incentives in the form of financial rewards. These funds could be utilized for amenities like bike lanes, recreation centers, and infrastructure to support the needs of expanding populations.

Earlier this week, Mayor Mike Little of the District of North Vancouver and Mayor Mark Sager of West Vancouver expressed their desire to receive financial support from the federal and provincial governments for essential infrastructure improvements. They specifically mentioned the need for better highways and bridges to alleviate congestion as their communities continue to grow.

In response, Housing Minister Kahlon stated on Thursday that communities successfully meeting the housing targets will have priority access to federal funding through the $4-billion housing accelerator fund. Additionally, he highlighted that all municipalities in British Columbia received unrestricted funding earlier this year through the $1-billion growing communities fund.

Inclusion of Small Municipalities Raises Questions and Provides Insight

The expanded list of municipalities may provide answers to housing analysts who were puzzled by the inclusion of small municipalities like Oak Bay and West Vancouver in the initial selection. With populations of 18,000 and 44,000, respectively, these municipalities have limited capacity to contribute significantly to the overall housing stock of the province.

Jamie Squires, president of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing, finds encouragement in the fact that the complete list comprises a mix of housing “producers and non-producers.” She believes it is logical to concentrate on larger municipalities that are already progressing with high-density projects. Increasing housing starts in these communities would have a more substantial impact on the province’s overall housing supply compared to smaller municipalities.


However, Squires clarifies that smaller municipalities cannot evade their responsibilities. She mentions that even these smaller municipalities possess available land and have the potential to construct housing; they simply tend to progress at a slower pace. In contrast, larger municipalities like Vancouver face limitations in terms of available land and are exploring options to increase density through infill sites.

The housing targets established under the Housing Supply Act are just one of the several legislative measures utilized by Eby to override opposition from municipalities and neighborhood groups regarding density and facilitate the construction of new housing.

In April, Eby and Kahlon announced the province’s plans to revamp municipal zoning regulations, enabling the development of additional “missing-middle” housing, such as townhomes and multiplex homes on single-family lots. Furthermore, starting this autumn, the province will introduce a flipping tax and legalize all secondary suites as part of their initiatives.

Housing targets list

Here are all the municipalities mentioned in the order-in-council, listed alphabetically:

• Abbotsford*
• Anmore (village)
• Belcarra (village)
• Burnaby
• Central Saanich (district)
• Chilliwack
• Colwood
• Coquitlam
• Delta*
• Duncan
• Esquimalt (township)
• Highlands (district)
• Kamloops*
• Kelowna
• Ladysmith (town)
• Lake Cowichan (town)
• Langford
• Lantzville (district)
• Langley
• Langley (township)
• Lions Bay (village)
• Maple Ridge
• Metchosin (district)
• Mission
• Nanaimo
• New Westminster
• North Cowichan (district)
• North Saanich (district)
• North Vancouver (city)
• North Vancouver (district)*
• Oak Bay (district)*
• Pitt Meadows
• Port Coquitlam
• Port Moody*
• Prince George
• Richmond
• Saanich (district)*
• Sidney (town)
• Sooke (district)
• Squamish (district)
• Surrey
• Vancouver*
• Victoria*
• View Royal (town)
• West Kelowna
• West Vancouver (district municipality)*
• White Rock*

*Previously announced

Written with files from the Vancouver Sun

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