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

The government has expanded its housing ‘naughty list,’ adding Burnaby, Surrey, Langford, White Rock, Pitt Meadows, and North Cowichan.

Following the B.C.’s Housing Minister’s recent announcement, they made these cities their initial 10 targets. Last week, the minister revealed the first ten municipalities obligated to meet new housing targets. Now, a government order-in-council has disclosed the full list of 47 municipalities expected to boost housing production.

Mandating Diverse Housing Options

Municipalities on “the naughty list” must authorize a diverse range of housing options, including townhomes, multi-family buildings, condos, and below-market housing. The government will set these housing targets this summer, giving municipalities six months to show progress. Using a weighted index, they selected municipalities that considered factors like housing needs urgency, projected population growth, land availability, and affordability.

Announcing Additional Municipalities

Later this year, the government will choose and notify another 10 municipalities. However, it remains uncertain which ones from the order-in-council will be included.

Expert Opinions on the List

Tom Davidoff, from UBC Sauder School of Business, contributed to the metrics for selecting municipalities. He was surprised that Whistler was excluded, given its significant housing challenges.

“The selected areas are widely recognized for housing issues. Notably, the list lacks small municipalities in the Interior or northern Vancouver Island,” Davidoff said.

Local Leaders Express Concerns

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog questions whether the targets will increase housing supply and affordability. He acknowledges the importance of housing but doubts that merely setting targets will achieve the goal. Additionally, 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.

Krog also expresses relief that Nanaimo was not included in the “top 10 bad list.” He noted that the city is already processing many building permits and approvals.

Issues of Transparency and Methodology

Karin Kirkpatrick, the housing critic for B.C. United, raised concerns about the selection process’s lack of transparency. She emphasizes the need for clarity on how housing needs, including homelessness and social housing, are calculated.

If communities fail to meet targets within six months, the province will appoint an independent adviser to assist them. This should be effective but if not, the province will assert greater authority. The power would include rezoning entire neighborhoods to increase density.

Incentives for Meeting Housing Targets

Premier David Eby assured that communities meeting housing requirements would receive financial rewards. These funds could be used for amenities like bike lanes, recreation centers, and infrastructure to support growing populations.

Earlier this week, Mayor Mike Little of North Vancouver and Mayor Mark Sager of West Vancouver requested financial support from federal and provincial governments for essential infrastructure improvements. They mentioned the need for better highways and bridges to alleviate congestion.

Access to Federal Funding

Housing Minister Kahlon responded that communities meeting housing targets will have priority access to federal funding through the $4-billion housing accelerator fund. He also highlighted that all B.C. municipalities received unrestricted funding earlier this year through the $1-billion growing communities fund.

Responsibilities of Small Municipalities

The expanded list may answer questions from housing analysts puzzled by the inclusion of small municipalities like Oak Bay and West Vancouver. These municipalities, with populations of 18,000 and 44,000 respectively, have limited capacity to significantly impact the province’s housing stock.

Jamie Squires, president of Fifth Avenue Real Estate Marketing, finds encouragement in the complete list, which includes a mix of housing “producers and non-producers.” She believes it makes sense to focus on larger municipalities progressing with high-density projects. Increasing housing starts in these communities would significantly impact the province’s overall housing supply compared to smaller municipalities.

However, Squires clarifies that smaller municipalities cannot evade their responsibilities. She notes that even smaller municipalities have available land and can construct housing, though they tend to progress more slowly. Larger municipalities like Vancouver face land limitations and are exploring options to increase density through infill sites.

Legislative Measures to Increase Housing

The housing targets under the Housing Supply Act are part of several legislative measures used by Eby to override opposition from municipalities and neighborhood groups regarding density. These measures facilitate new housing construction. In April, Eby and Kahlon announced plans to revamp municipal zoning regulations. This change will enable the development of “missing-middle” housing, such as townhomes and multiplex homes on single-family lots. Starting this autumn, the province will also introduce a flipping tax and legalize all secondary suites.


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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