The head of the association representing builders in Greater Victoria says a proposed housing forum could be beneficial if elected officials draw and implement the right lessons. (Derek Ford/District of Saanich)

Head of Greater Victoria home builders says proposed forum could be beneficial

VRBA’s Casey Edge however also tempers expectations

The head of the association representing builders in Greater Victoria says it is early too tell whether a proposed forum on housing will have any impact on housing affordability in the region.

Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association (VRBA), says it depends on the receptiveness of elected officials and their ability to translate received information into action.

“Victoria has held multiple housing forums but little changes,” said Edge. “I haven’t heard of many housing forums in Langford where they have the most efficient development processes and most affordable housing, having built 60 per cent of rentals in the CRD and 40 per cent of all new housing.”

Edge made these comments in response to plans for a housing forum spearheaded by Coun. Zac de Vries along with other members of council as part of an informal working group.

RELATED: Saanich councillor says proposed housing forum asks the community for solutions

The forum “would bring together community and industry expertise to identify challenges to increasing housing availability and housing affordability in Saanich, and opportunities to address them.” Its timing, however, remains uncertain, because council referred the matter to its next meeting on May 6 — two days after the scheduled forum — because staff told council that they lacked time to secure a facilitator under Saanich’s procurement policy.

The forum has also been the source of controversy after Coun. Nathalie Chambers accused some of her colleagues of secrecy. “This item [the housing forum] was not a resolution by council,” said Chambers. “It was an initiative formed outside of council. It was not in the public eye. We did not debate it. I did not approve the housing forum.”

RELATED: Saanich councillor accuses colleagues of working outside the ‘public eye’

Other members of council, including de Vries, as well as councillors not part of the working group, questioned Chambers’ charge.

“It is not secretive as a councillor to develop an idea, in this case a vision for a housing forum, and bring it in a report to a public meeting for open discussion,” said de Vries. “If we are going to address the pressing issues facing our community councillors need to exercise agency, develop ideas and bring them to the council chambers.”

Edge, for this part, did not directly address this dispute between Chambers and de Vries, but forums of this sort have been common in other municipalities.

“[Coun]. Chambers would likely benefit from such an event because she has already voted to raise housing costs significantly during her short term on council, and erode affordability for her residents,” he said.

VRBA also levelled that charge at de Vries in a tweet.

Edge said VRBA will continue to speak out on housing affordability issues and like so many social media accounts, VRBA’s Twitter could not resist using the first-ever recorded image of a black hole to draw attention to perceived deficits, in this case, Saanich’s permitting process.

Municipal officials have promised improvements.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Governing bodies accused of ‘destroying’ girls’ hockey by Island’s top team

When asked for advice hockey dad says ‘put your girls in soccer’

Guns could use smartphone-style fingerprint locks in near future

Startups looking to outflank traditional gun manufacturers using tech knowhow

Esquimalt to finalize township’s four-year plan

Council will soon make final decisions on its draft strategic goals and priorities

Sarah Beckett Cruise back for its fourth year this Sunday

Money this year is going into buying playground equipment for the playground in honour of the fallen constable

Syrian violinist plays with new Canadian band at upcoming fundraiser

Sari Alesh played with the Symphony Orchestra in Syria for six years

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Most Read