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BC Builds adds more sites to fast-track housing for people with middle incomes

April 29, 2024 at 9:19 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Proposals are being sought for eight pre-zoned housing sites on public lands that have been added to the BC Builds property list to fast-track more rental homes to be built for people with middle incomes in B.C.

“Our communities and our economy depend on middle-income people like teachers, nurses and construction workers, and they depend on being able to find a decent place to live within their budget,” said Premier David Eby. “By bringing together public landowners and housing developers and operators through BC Builds, we are transforming underused public land throughout the province into thousands of lower-cost, middle-income rental homes.” 

Launched in February 2024, BC Builds delivers more homes middle-income earners can afford through low-interest financing, grant funding, and leveraging government-, community- and non-profit-owned and underused land.

Working closely with First Nations, non-profits and local governments, eight parcels of pre-zoned land from the Interior to Vancouver Island have been secured for future BC Builds projects and are now available for housing development.

BC Builds is seeking proposals to connect residential developers and housing operators to the landowners of these pre-zoned sites through a new online platform on the BC Builds website. By providing pre-zoned land, low-cost financing and grant funding, these sites will be developed into homes people and families with middle incomes living and working in that community can afford. All BC Builds projects have a target of households with middle incomes spending no more than 30% of their income on rent.

“We’re dealing with a housing crisis and governments must play an active role together with non-profits and the private sector to build as much housing as possible,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “BC Builds is getting British Columbia back into the game of building middle-income housing as quickly as possible by connecting public lands with homebuilders and non-profit housing operators.”

The eight housing development opportunities are:

  • City of Kamloops, 377 Tranquille Rd.
  • City of Kelowna, 1428 St. Paul St.
  • District of Elkford, 421 Boivin Rd.
  • District of Sooke, 6671 Wadams Way
  • Municipality of North Cowichan, 9800 Willow St. (Chemainus)
  • Township of Langley, 20230-72B Ave.
  • Township of Langley, 27200 Block of Fraser Hwy.
  • Township of Langley, 7883-199 St.

Information is available on the BC Builds website for each parcel of land, which includes details about the property, evaluation criteria for housing proposals and proposal submission deadlines. BC Builds will facilitate partnership agreements and lease terms between landowners and developers, and help support the evaluation of proposals to match zoned land with developers and housing operators. Information about the submission process is also available on the website.

Some of the landowners are seeking proposals from First Nations, non-profit or private residential developers to deliver housing projects for their pre-selected housing operators. Other landowners are seeking proposals from developers and housing operators to enter into a long-term land lease, build, own and operate the housing on their land.

Once a developer and housing operator are identified, the BC Builds model will turn the identified sites from concept to construction in 12-18 months, rather than the typical three to five years. This acceleration is accomplished by streamlining municipal development processes and having the BC Builds team working collaboratively with landowners, local governments, and residential developers to remove any barriers.  

First Nations, government, non-profit and community landowners can submit additional suitable parcels of land for future projects by reaching out to BC Builds staff.

“Providing a platform where landowners, developers and housing operators can easily access information is one way we are streamlining processes,” said Megan Dykeman, MLA for Langley East, and Parliamentary Secretary for Community Development and Non-Profits. “This will ensure a quicker decision-making process by leveraging partnerships, as well as financing and funding options, to get the homes built faster in the communities where housing is needed.”

The eight new sites are in addition to four BC Builds projects located in North Vancouver, Duncan, Gibsons and Vancouver, which are expected to deliver approximately 524 homes for people with middle incomes. With the federal and provincial financing in place, the eight sites are part of the 8,000 to 10,000 homes for people with middle incomes that will initially be built over the first five years of the program.

BC Builds will help people with middle incomes in British Columbia, such as teachers, nurses, transit operators, construction workers, small-business owners and others, find housing they can afford in the communities where they live and work. BC Builds is part of a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the Province has nearly 78,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway throughout B.C., including more than 1,000 homes in Langley.

Quick Facts:

  • BC Builds is supported by a $2-billion low-cost financing from the B.C. government and a provincial commitment of $950 million for the overall program, as well as $2 billion in additional financing from the Government of Canada.
  • For projects in partnership with non-profits and First Nations, at least 20% of all BC Builds homes will have rents at least 20% below market rate.
  • All BC Builds units have a target of households with middle incomes spending no more than approximately 30% of their income on rent.
  • The rents for BC Builds homes will not exceed the market rent for that community and will, in many cases, be below market rent.

Learn More:

To learn more about the housing development opportunities, visit: https://www.bcbuildshomes.ca/developers/

To learn more about how BC Builds works, including funding and financing, visit: https://www.bcbuildshomes.ca/sites/default/files/2024-04/BCB-Rental-Supply-Program-Framework.pdf

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for people in British Columbia, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/housing/

A backgrounder follows.

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