Victoria city council intends to take on the housing crisis in a multi-pronged approach.
On Thursday five different motions are being proposed following the promise of “bold action” on housing that the mayor and council made at their inaugural meeting.
Coun. Sharmarke Dubow and Coun. Jeremy Loveday are calling for the creation of a Renters’ Advisory Committee to represent the roughly 60 per cent of city residents who are renters. This would be comprised of up to 12 representatives of the public for two years, with Dubow and Loveday as non-voting liaisons. The committee would help develop policies to increase rental housing stock, improve conditions for renters, and enhance access and inclusion for renters.
Coun. Ben Isitt and Loveday are proposing several steps to launch a Town Hall meeting and technical workshop on the future of co-opertive housing. These steps include exploring the Interim Inclusive Housing and Density Bonus Policy, data from BC Assessment and requesting amendments to the BC Assessment Act on a priority basis to provide for “split classification.” This would make sure that units used as commercial short-term rentals are properly taxed as commercial units, rather than residential.
Coun. Sarah Potts, Coun. Laurel Collins, Isitt and Loveday are advocating for the City to support acquiring land for “decommodified” housing. This would mean the City would look into purchasing land and setting it aside for affordable housing.
Dubow, Potts and Collins will ask City staff to make amendments to the Victoria Housing Strategy, as well as other applicable bylaws and policies, to promote and mandate the creation of family-appropriate rental units. This move aims to see more two and three-bedroom units for families to rent.
Lastly, Collins, Potts and Dubow would like to adopt and consistently apply the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) definition of affordable housing in the Victoria Housing Strategy. In the definition, affordable housing should cost no more than 30 per cent of gross household income.
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