Nearly 10K homes needed in Greater Victoria over next 5 years to meet housing crisis: mayors
Published Thursday, May 6, 2021 9:40AM PDT
Greater Victoria mayors say 2,000 new homes are needed in the region each year over the next five years: (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Mayors across Greater Victoria and the Urban Development Institute Capital Region (UDI) are stressing the urgency of housing availability in the region.
The UDI, alongside the mayors of Victoria, Esquimalt, Saanich, Sooke and Langford, say that nearly 2,000 homes will need to open each year in Greater Victoria for the next five years to keep up with demand.
The mayors say historic supply lows and the time it takes to approve municipal housing developments are stressing availability and affordability in the capital region.
"The longer we take the more it costs," said Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins in a release Wednesday. "We can’t have that on our hands."
By municipality, Saanich says it will need to approve 600 homes annually, Victoria requires 580, Langford needs 555, Sooke requires 164 and Esquimalt needs 89 homes each year for the next five years to accommodate housing needs, according to the UDI.
The mayors say they are trying to lessen the impacts of the housing crisis by streamlining the approval process for developments and by creating a new digital application system. The municipalities say they're also looking at approving a more diverse range of housing.
"It takes political courage and demonstration projects to prove things can be done differently," said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps.
"The results of inaction will be catastrophic five to 10 years from now," she added.
Victoria says it's currently looking at novel ways to increase housing space, such as reducing the minimum requirement of on-street parking for new developments.
Meanwhile, the Acting Mayor of Langford, Lillian Szpak, says that her municipality benefits from working with developers as "partners" to keep up with rapid growth challenges.