On May 4 and 5, over 80 attendees from all around BC participated in BCREA’s Government Liaison Days. At this virtual conference, attendees learned about how the government can improve housing supply as well as energy efficiency in homes. REALTORS® then met with their MLAs to discuss the impact in their communities.
Realtors presented MLAs with an opportunity to expand BC’s role as a leader in the fight against climate change. To reduce homes’ carbon footprints and increase the impact of energy assessment tools, BCREA recommends that the provincial government:
- consult with real estate sector stakeholders and homeowners before requiring energy assessments on existing homes,
- ensure that an energy assessment tool is available to owners of all existing homes rather than only at the point of listing, and
- coordinate an energy assessment tool with other programs, such as CleanBC retrofit incentives and EnerGuide for Homes.
In advance of Government Liaison Days, Advocacy Projects Manager Mark Sakai wrote an op-ed in the Georgia Straight, a guide to making homes in BC more sustainable and energy efficient.
An important resource in forming housing supply recommendations is the government’s own Development Approval Process Review (DAPR) report. DAPR provides a roadmap to address challenges and identify opportunities to improve local government approvals processes. Approvals affect how quickly housing projects are built, allowing supply to better react to changes in demand. BCREA recommends that the provincial government:
- empower Official Community Plans (OCPs) to reduce unnecessary public hearings, and
- leverage transportation funding and OCPs to encourage local governments to increase gentle densification of affordable, family friendly housing options such as duplexes, triplexes, secondary suites and laneway homes.
So far, there has been mostly positive feedback from MLAs, with many agreeing that the development process is too long and requires simplification. During the conference, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing David Eby gave a keynote address, and we were encouraged to hear that his vision on housing supply aligns with BCREA. He expressed support for increasing density along transit corridors and said that his ministry is “currently working on implementing DAPR.”
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