Victoria mandates 20 per cent of large new housing developments be affordable

After years of back and forth, inclusionary housing policy will be ratified in two weeks

Victoria City Council has approved an inclusionary housing policy for the city. Now, new developments with at least 60 units in total must ensure that 20 per cent of the units are affordable.

“This policy has been in the works for a long time — years, in fact,” said Victoria City Councillor Jeremy Loveday.

“We’re in the midst of a housing crisis and a development boom,” he said. “This policy seeks to make sure that the real estate development that is occurring works better for the many residents that are not able to currently afford that housing that’s being built.”

READ ALSO: Average housing prices would have to drop by $413,000 for Victoria to become affordable

A vote was taken at their Committee of the Whole meeting on Thursday. There were a few councillors against the policy, but the objectors were out voted, said Loveday.

“The average residents are going to benefit most from this policy because it’s going to make sure that the buildings that we have going up all across the city will have units that people can actually afford,” said Loveday. “That will be in the form of both affordable rental housing and affordable home ownership opportunities.”

The affordable home ownership aspect of the policy will be managed by either the CRD or BC Housing, not by the city, he said. However, the city will monitor this to ensure the inclusionary housing policy is creating as many affordable housing opportunities as possible.

READ ALSO: Vancouver Island residents say municipalities are not moving fast enough on affordable housing

The rentals that will be affected by this policy may either be managed by non-profits, by the CRD or an entirely different entity, said Loveday. “But they will need to maintain the affordability for the 60-year period or for the life of the building.”

Buildings with fewer than 60 units will have an option to give cash rather than making 20 per cent of their units affordable, Loveday explained. This cash will go to the city to be managed.

“Seventy per cent of it will go to our affordable housing trust fund,” said Loveday. “We give $10,000 per bedroom to affordable housing being developed within the city and often that money is able to be leveraged greatly to other levels of government so it actually helps us create more housing overall. The other 30 per cent goes to neighbourhood amenities.”

The inclusionary housing policy will be ratified at council in two weeks and will go into effect immediately after it is approved, said Loveday. It will apply only to new rezoning applications received by the city.



devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

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