Forty-three local governments throughout British Columbia are receiving grants to create more efficient development approvals processes that will help people get the homes they need built faster and support economic recovery.

“Local governments play a critical role in making sure the housing people need in their communities is built quickly and meets local needs. These grants will help them do critical work to modernize development permitting and approvals by removing barriers and streamlining processes,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “Together, the Province, local governments, housing providers and builders can find solutions that support more affordable housing for everyone in B.C.”

The Province is working closely with local governments and stakeholders to increase housing supply and affordability. The Local Government Development Approvals Program is part of that effort. The program is providing nearly $15 million to help local governments implement best practices and develop innovative ways to support non-profit housing organizations, developers and other stakeholders to build essential housing for people around the province as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

The following projects are examples of how the program will help local governments meet housing needs in their communities:

  • The City of North Vancouver is looking at all components of its development approvals process, from the first point of contact to the completion of a building. This includes creating a one-stop client service centre, completing a review of the permitting process, and implementing a form-based zoning bylaw focused on quality design, rather than complex regulation, making it easier to deliver diverse housing solutions.
  • The District of Summerland is implementing new software to improve tracking, enable electronic applications, and increase the efficiency of multiple development application processes. Summerland is also working in collaboration with the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen to build a regional customer portal as a one-stop shop for all development and building applicants in the region.
  • The City of Nanaimo is establishing an online application portal and dashboard, reviewing existing processes and associated bylaws, and developing standard templates and guidelines. It is also establishing a joint city-industry building permit advisory working group to work with the development sector to design and implement improvements to the approvals process.

The program was open to all municipalities, regional districts and the Islands Trust, and is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities on behalf of the Province.

“Local governments are creating new ways to streamline development approval processes and accelerate the delivery of new homes to communities,” said Brian Frenkel, president of the Union of BC Municipalities. “This program provides a welcome investment to implement these changes and will help establish a new range of best practices in B.C.”

Quotes:

Linda Buchanan, mayor, City of North Vancouver –

"People always tell me that cities can improve the permit process and I agree. That’s why I’m so pleased that the city will be receiving these funds to modernize our services. With this grant in hand, the city will make our regulations simpler and more effective, reduce processing times and deliver a wider range of services through our new online portal.”

Toni Boot, mayor, District of Summerland –

“These funds will help streamline our development approvals processes which, in turn, helps us address local housing needs and related market pressures in the development sector. Further, partnering with the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will provide a one-stop shop web portal for all development and building permits. We feel this model could be used in many other jurisdictions throughout B.C.”

Leonard Krog, mayor, City of Nanaimo –

“We are grateful to the Province for awarding us this grant through its Local Government Development Approvals Program as the pace of development in Nanaimo in recent years demonstrates that the city is a great place to live and invest in. This grant will help increase customer service by reducing development approval processing times, improving development approval process transparency, and providing clarity and consistency on application submission requirements.”

Learn More:

For more information about the Development Approvals Process Review consultation, visit:

https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/local- governments/planning-land-use/dapr_2019_report.pdf

Learn more about B.C.'s economic recovery plan: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/emergency-preparedness-response- recovery/covid-19-provincial-support/bc-restart-plan

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: https://www.canada.ca/en/department- finance/economic-response-plan.html (canada.ca)

Government of Canada's action on COVID-19: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/canadas-reponse/government-canada-takes-action-covid-19.html

For a backgrounder of projects, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BGLG_GrantRecipients.pdf