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Housing expert offers insight into provincial budget

A housing expert says the provincial budget shows some promise in addressing housing, but it will take a combined effort from all levels of government to fix the crisis. 

The province announced more money in their budget for support for families, housing and healthcare with more deficits for the future predicted. 

Wiser Projects Kaeley Wiseman says there isn’t much new information in this budget except for a few items and considering how much inaction has been done it is about time the need for housing is addressed. 

“The budget and the last year of this provincial government underscore our desire to realign priorities across all levels of government, and really lead the pack nationally,” she says. “We’ve seen barriers on removing policy, political and bureaucratic barriers hindering executing new homes more quickly. 

“There has also seen some dampening on the demand side in relation to speculation, foreign buying taxes and helping those who are local in the province of BC access supply that’s available.”

Wiseman adds the new budget shows a glimmer of hope to show governments are working in the right direction to curb the market to make housing more affordable and increase the supply. 

“There’s hope that we could see more federal and provincial alignment on housing in the future instead of who’s responsible,” she says. 

Wiseman says investments announced in the budget are rare and over the course of her career in planning she has never seen this type of change in policy. 

“I think the big impacts are focusing on development where it makes sense, for example the transit orientated development policy which would promote density and residential dwelling where we already have infrastructure,” she says.  

“Another reach was the small-scale multi-unit housing and now standard design process the province is undertaking. Most municipalities in BC will be subject to this.” 

Wisemans says by removing the policies and barriers municipalities could see a substantial amount of development come online which should help alleviate some of the pressures on each community. 

“By focusing on policy and removing the barriers we’ve all faced in the development sector of three to five years for approval, we could see a record amount of supply come online,” Wiseman says.  

Wiseman says despite the investments to meet the current housing demand investments still need to be made to accommodate the infrastructure to handle the increase in housing. 

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