With $4 million annual tax for low-cost rental housing, Metro Vancouver seeks lands for new projects

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      As Jerry Dobrovolny explains, building new and affordable rental housing requires two things: money and land.

      Dobrovolny is the commissioner and chief administrative officer of Metro Vancouver, and he is addressing member municipalities of the regional federation.

      Dobrovolny is telling them that the regional government has the money to build new low-cost rental housing, and that it needs land from them to build on.

      “This stable source of funding will support the development of new housing and may be further leveraged through provincial and federal funding,” according to the Dobrovolny.

      The Metro Vancouver commissioner and CAO was referring to the $4 million annual tax that the regional government will collect starting in 2020.

      The requisition will be used to expand its portfolio of affordable rental housing on sites that will have to be identified by municipalities.

      “To apply these funds to the development of new affordable housing across the region, Metro Vancouver Housing is now seeking opportunities to purchase or lease land from member jurisdictions at a nominal rate,” Dobrovolny wrote in a letter.

      Through the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation, the region owns 49 housing properties in 11 municipalities.

      These housing sites are rented out at geared-to-income and below market rates, providing shelter to more than 9,000 people.

      Municipalities have until April 3, 2020 to identify lands where the region may potentially build new affordable rentals.

      A report by Laurel Cowan, a Metro Vancouver manager, states that the lands will be assessed for their suitability for development.

      One factor would be the number of units that can be built on the site, and the location’s readiness for development.

      The region will also look into whether the land is near community amenities and transit.

      Metro Vancouver will likewise consider if host cities can help development through expedited permit approvals, density bonuses, grants, fee waivers, and reduction in parking requirements.

      “While all responses will be considered, properties that are development ready will be prioritized to best apply the use of available funding,” Cowan wrote.

      Cowan’s report is included in the agenda Friday (January 31) of the Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation.