Members of Victoria council spent Tuesday morning addressing questions from development professionals about the recently approved inclusionary housing policy, which has created a large amount of uncertainty in the industry.
Mayor Lisa Helps was joined by Coun. Jeremy Loveday and Coun. Sarah Potts to explain the intent of the policy and how it fits into the City’s overall housing strategy in a panel discussion at the Union Club.
In June 2019 council adopted the new policy, asking developers to provide a portion of their new market housing projects at affordable rates in exchange for additional density above established limits.
The first question the panelists were asked related to the percentage of inclusionary housing units that would be economical supportable. A consultant arrived at 10 per cent and council arrived at 20 per cent, how did this happen and what factors were considered?
Potts stated that it was found the target should exceed the 10 per cent in order to take into consideration affordable ownership units.
The panel was then asked what benefits or drawbacks were seen to be “ignoring the consultants’ recommendations?”
To which Potts reaffirmed council listened carefully to all voices in the process, not just experts.
Adding to the list of leading questions the panel was asked, the next shot took fire at how this decision reflected the quality of governance in the City, to which Loveday added to Potts statement that council did not go against the direction of staff or the consultants and actually implemented almost all of the recommendations fully.
“The average residents are going to benefit most from this policy because it’s going to make sure that the buildings that we have going up all across the city will have units that people can actually afford,” said Loveday, when the policy was first approved. “That will be in the form of both affordable rental housing and affordable homeownership opportunities.”
The affordable homeownership aspect of the policy will be managed by either the CRD or BC Housing, not by the City of Victoria, he said. However, the City will monitor this to ensure the inclusionary housing policy is creating as many affordable housing opportunities as possible.
– With files from Devon Bidal
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