Province hopes to improve housing supply with amendments to Local Government Act

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The provincial government said proposed changes to the Local Government Act will help local councils and regional boards move forward more efficiently on housing developments.

The amendments will update the Local Government Act to:

-remove the default requirement for local governments to hold public hearings for zoning bylaw amendments that are consistent with the official community plan; and

-enable local governments to delegate decisions on minor development variance permits to staff.

“We are working with local governments, the development sector and housing advocates to streamline local development processes to help get more homes built faster for people,” said Josie Osborne, minister of municipal affairs. “By updating public hearing and certain permit requirements, we are giving local governments more tools to deliver the housing that communities need throughout B.C.”

The province said the changes were identified during consultation with local governments, housing providers and builders and other stakeholders as part of its Development Approvals Process Review.

“Both of the amendments announced today are positive steps in ensuring that affordable homes can be delivered more quickly,” said Jill Atkey, CEO of the BC Non-profit Housing Association (BCNPHA). 

“BCNPHA encourages all municipalities to use their new delegation powers and to consider seriously whether public hearings are necessary for affordable housing projects that are consistent with community plans. These actions alone have the potential to save as much as one year in the development process.”

The proposed amendment for public hearings requires local governments to provide public notice of the rezoning bylaw before the bylaw is considered at first reading by a municipal council or regional district board, according to the province.

The proposed legislation also makes amendments to streamline the Islands Trust development approvals processes by enabling local trust committees to adopt and amend development approval information bylaws.

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