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New 10-year housing strategy to direct Saanich council, staff

Key objectives include reducing barriers to housing development, understand housing demands
Saanich’s recently approved housing strategy focuses on increasing the supply, affordability, and diversity of housing options. (Photo courtesy of Saanich staff)

A 10-year housing strategy meant to increase supply, affordability, and diversity of housing options in the district has been approved by Saanich council.

“The housing strategy provides a toolkit for Saanich over the next 10 years and it took months of work and planning to get it going,” said Mayor Fred Haynes in an interview following council’s Aug. 23 meeting.

Saanich said in a statement that the district recognizes the challenges related to finding affordable housing options and the strategy identifies where immediate priorities lie.

“There are a lot of things that we enjoy within our community that rely on people having access to affordable housing, we’re all in this together,” said Coun. Zac de Vries, adding that income should not be a barrier to safe and affordable housing.

Much of the content in the strategy was generated by the Saanich Housing Task Force, who worked to align the strategies with the district’s Official Community Plan and Regional Growth Strategy.

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Saanich staff said many of the new planned developments will be built within the urban containment boundary near existing centers, villages, and designated corridors.

Some of the key objectives of the strategy are to promote and protect rental housing, reduce barriers to housing development, and to more deeply understand housing demands.

De Vries also emphasized the principles driving this strategy are to develop housing in a way that protects the natural environment, ensuring a high quality of life where access to green space is available and protected.

In total, 1,544 Saanich residents responded to a public survey and nearly two-thirds of respondents supported the recommendations included in the strategy framework.

Progress on the 10-year framework will be monitored and shared publically through an annual housing strategy report.

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