A new survey finds that municipalities across British Columbia are not doing enough to increase the supply of affordable housing (Black Press File)

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

Survey shows British Columbians feel prices remain high because there are not enough housing options

A new survey commissioned by a pro-development group casts doubt about the ability of government to improve the supply of affordable housing on Vancouver Island.

Twenty-four per cent of respondents on Vancouver Island say “housing affordability” has “worsened a lot” thanks to “actions of governments (provincial and municipal) on housing,” according to an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of the Urban Development Institute (UDI). The organization describes itself as a “non-profit association of the development industry and its related professions that is non-partisan in its activities.” By way of background, the District of Saanich joined the organization following the 2018 municipal election.

Ipsos conducted the poll between May 7 and 15, 2019, contacting 1,001 adult residents across the province.

Looking at municipal governments specifically, 63 per cent of respondents on Vancouver Island say municipalities are “not doing enough” to encourage more diverse housing options such as duplexes, triplexes, mid-rise apartments or senior living residences.

The survey also finds Vancouver Island respondents want to see improvements to the municipal approval process.

RELATED: Developers could get a break on development cost charges in Saanich

Thirty-seven per cent say they are “strongly” of the opinion that the approval process needs to be fixed, with 34 per cent “somewhat” of the opinion that the approval process needs to be fixed. By way of comparison, only residents in B.C.’s interior and north appear more dissatisfied than residents of Vancouver Island.

These figures are backed up by groups like the Victoria Residential Builders Association (VRBA), which has long criticized Saanich for slow processing times. While municipal officials have promised improvements, this promise alone is acknowledgement of VRBA’s broader point. VRBA has also questioned plans by Saanich to raise development cost charges — a plan currently delayed — and introduce a voluntary building code as a tool against climate change.

But this assessment by UDI also comes with a proviso as the question itself suggests a certain framing. Specifically, it asks the following: “In some municipalities it can take up to five years for a housing proposal to be approved. Which of the following is closer to your point of view?”

It then presents two options, which read as follows: “I trust municipalities to go through a proper approval process, and if it takes five years then it takes five years. I think the municipal process is too long and needs to be fixed so that there are more housing options more quickly.”

The statement of “up to five” years likely represents an outlier, and the question itself does not define a timely process, leaving respondents guessing.

This said, the overall survey finds British Columbians remain concerned with house prices and rents, and point to housing diversity as an issue. Three-quarters (74 per cent) agree “home prices and rents remain high because there are too few housing options.”

Agreement with this sentiment is high across all regions of the province, including Vancouver Island (72 per cent).

British Columbians do not see an improvement in housing affordability. Overall, only one-quarter of British Columbians think the number of affordable housing options has increased in the province in the past two years while one-quarter (26 per cent) say the number has stayed the same and nearly half (45 per cent) say the number of affordable options has decreased, with 26 per cent saying by “a lot” and 20 per cent saying by a “little.”

Saanich for its part has promised to improve the supply and diversity of affordable housing.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rare white orca spotted hunting off shores of Alaska for first time

Tl’uk seems healthy and strong, says researcher

Mental health challenges add to youth stress load

Part 2 in a Black Press series on Youth Homelessness

Langford bike park rolling along to completion

New park a tribute to Jordie Lunn’s legacy

Oak Bay council places 60-day protection order on Island Road house

Developer pulled heritage agreement over ‘exorbitant’ $417,000 fees

Saanich council to dig into long-awaited garden suite study

Detached suites keep families close, provide financial flexibility, mayor says

VIDEO: Greater Victoria police officers try bhangra dancing with social media star

Gurdeep Pandher leads bhangra lesson on front lawn of the BC Legislature building

Captain Horvat’s OT marker lifts Canucks to 4-3 win over Blues

Vancouver takes 2-0 lead in best-of-7 NHL playoff series with St. Louis

Widow of slain Red Deer doctor thanks community for support ahead of vigil

Fellow doctors, members of the public will gather for a physically-distanced vigil in central Alberta

Taking dog feces and a jackhammer to neighbourhood dispute costs B.C. man $16,000

‘Pellegrin’s actions were motivated by malice …a vindictive, pointless, dangerous and unlawful act’

Racist stickers at Keremeos pub leaves group uneasy and angry

The ‘OK’ hand gesture is a known hate-symbol

VIDEO: World responds to B.C. girl after pandemic cancels birthday party

Dozens of cards and numerous packages were delivered to six-year-old Charlie Manning

Expected fall peak of COVID-19 in Canada could overwhelm health systems: Tam

National modelling projections released Friday show an expected peak in cases this fall

Hundreds of sea lions to be killed on Columbia River in effort to save endangered fish

Nearly 22,000 comments received during public review were opposed, fewer than 200 were for

Most Read