Streamlining B.C.’s Future: New Legislation to Accelerate Home and Infrastructure Development
The British Columbia government has recently introduced a transformative piece of legislation aimed at expediting the delivery of homes, services, and infrastructure in growing communities. Central to this initiative is the introduction of Bill 44, which focuses on enabling upfront zoning to significantly increase housing supply throughout B.C. This legislation requires local governments to shift to an upfront planning process, pre-zoning lands to meet housing demands and reducing dependency on current rezoning processes. A key component of this approach is the implementation of an amenity cost charge (ACC), designed to make the costs associated with housing projects clearer and more transparent from the start, rather than during the rezoning stage. Addressing the inefficiencies of current practices, where protracted negotiations often delay construction and inflate costs, this legislation also revises rules around development cost charges and levies. These changes, particularly in the Vancouver Charter, will allow local governments more flexibility in allocating funds collected from homebuilders, extending beyond core infrastructure to include fire protection, police facilities, and solid-waste facilities. Additionally, the legislation facilitates funding for cost-shared provincial highway projects that benefit new housing developments. The initiative has garnered positive reactions from industry experts, with Anne McMullin of the Urban Development Institute praising its potential to make development charges more transparent and predictable. Anne Kang, Minister of Municipal Affairs, emphasized the legislation’s role in providing local governments with tools for more predictable service funding, a crucial step in addressing B.C.’s housing crisis.