Delta has a willing partner in the province if the city can come up with the land.
That was one of the messages conveyed by Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon to Delta council last week (June 13) on affordable housing, speaking about including the province’s investments in housing as well as the current challenges.
Commending the city on its efforts so far, but noting more affordable housing is needed, especially in North Delta, Kahlon said there could be some unique opportunities in Delta.
“In the province, we’re looking to partner with local government to identify where BC Housing can come in with the dollars to build more affordable units...one of the asks I have is for council to consider where those lands are available and be really innovative and work with us to find those opportunities where we can find financial support for these units we build,” said Kahlon.
“We’ve had these conversations where we can work together and there’s some unique opportunities in the years ahead that we should look at to ensure that seniors, especially, who are now starting to feel the pinch and pressure of housing, have an opportunity to stay closer to our community and maybe downsize to units that are more appropriate for them, that have accessibility for them as they age. But also, affordable housing for young families. We need to continue to be a place where young families look to come to because we’re going to need that for the community to be strong and successful.”
Kahlon noted the challenges that Delta is facing are the same in many other jurisdictions in B.C.
Last year the province had around 100,000 new residents, the highest single-year increase in 60 years. That puts even more pressure on the current housing stock, he said.
Kahlon also spoke of several initiatives as well as the importance the HousingHub, which is a division within BC Housing, established to create affordable rental housing and homeownership options for middle-income people.
“There’s a willing partner in the province to work with all local governments to build this housing. We know it’s critical for us. We’ve been fortunate we’ve seen the strongest economic recovery in the country but it’s limited by the lack of housing,” he said.
Coun. Dylan Kruger said the city has been attempting to create more housing but has also not kept up in recent years, especially when it comes to below-market as well as market rental housing.
Noting the municipal approvals process is still too lengthy, among other challenges, Kahlon said the province and City of Delta can work together to come up with creative Delta-specific solutions to create “a full basket” of housing types.