New fund helps local governments deliver on housing priorities
TDS News – A new program supporting local governments to improve their development approvals process builds on the Province’s commitment to help people and communities get the homes they need built faster.
“The ongoing pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for local governments and has heightened the need to further increase the supply of new, affordable homes for people in their communities,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Housing providers, the development sector and local governments all have a role to play in improving current development approvals, and this Development Approvals Program complements what local governments are already doing to get people the right housing for their communities quickly and efficiently.”
The $15-million Local Government Development Approvals Program is part of the Province’s ongoing work to give local governments the tools necessary to meet housing needs in their communities. It helps local governments look at best practices and innovative ways to support non-profit housing organizations, developers and other stakeholders to deliver essential and diverse types of housing to people around the province.
Examples of projects that will qualify for funding include:
- upgrades to a digital or online development application process to make it easier for applicants to apply;
- developing a pre-application workshop or seminar to help developers better understand the application requirements and speed up the process; and
- conducting internal reviews of current development approvals processes to identify opportunities for improvement.
Municipalities, regional districts and the Islands Trust will be eligible for up to $500,000 for projects that improve their development approvals process. Applications for projects that exceed that amount may be considered if applicants can demonstrate rationale and if funding is available.
The Union of British Columbia Municipalities is administering the program on behalf of the Province and will accept applications until May 7, 2021. Approvals are expected 90 days after the intake closes.
“UBCM members have long supported improving the development approval process in B.C.,” said Brian Frenkel, UBCM president. “This new program will provide assistance to local governments seeking to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their processes. UBCM also looks forward to working with the ministry as it develops additional initiatives captured under the 2019 Development Approvals Process Review Report.”