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37 more municipalities find themselves on the province's housing naughty list

The province is revealing its housing cards, as 37 more municipalities have been identified as the next group that will be required to create housing targets in their communities to help combat the ongoing housing shortfall.

“They are trying to look at which communities have grown a lot and which communities have shied away from growth,” said Philip MacKellar, a volunteer with Homes For Living, a housing advocacy group.

MacKellar applauds last week’s provincial announcement naming the first 10 municipalities to be put on the list, including Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay.

“The province is saying everybody needs to build more housing,” said MacKellar.

As for when the next 37 will be added, the province isn’t saying. Instead, it says 16 to 20 municipalities per fiscal year will be added to the list over the next three years.

“The timeline I think will be important,” said MacKellar. “Hopefully it happens sooner rather than later.”

Of the 37 municipalities, 16 Island communities have been targeted for the next round, including Nanaimo.

“I don’t know what more this city could possibly do,” said Leonard Krog, the mayor of Nanaimo.

Krog says his council has approved virtually every building application that has come before it over the past four years.

He says it’s time for the province to do its share of the heavy lifting.

“If the province wants more housing built, the private sector here has been doing a lot. They have to step up to the plate to build the housing for people who can’t afford it,” said Krog.

“Whatever we’re doing right now is not working,” said Luke Mari with Aryze Developments.

Aryze Developments focuses on multi-family dwellings. The development company is currently building a six-storey, 57-unit rental building in Quadra Village. From a developer standpoint, expanding the list is a good thing.

“Every environmental, social, economic outcome that we want in our province is connected to people being securely housed,” said Mari.

Ultimately, the goal is to remove municipal red tape -- tape that could stall a project for years.

“We had a four-storey rental building, 70 units that took five years to get approved, and our costs increased by $11 million during that period of time,” said Mari, adding the increase drove up the costs of rent in the end.

“Whether this makes a difference or not will really depend on the targets the province implements,” said MacKellar.

He says the policy could potentially have a huge impact on turning around B.C.’s housing shortfall if the targets are aggressive enough and properly enforced by the province. Top Stories

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