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New West receives $150,000 grant to speed up delivery of homes

New Westminster is one of 38 B.C. communities receiving grants from the province to help with housing
38 B.C. communities, including New West, are receiving provincial grants to help with construction of new homes.

New Westminster is one of 38 local governments receiving grants to create more efficient development approvals processes.

A June 17 news release from the Ministry of Housing stated that New Westminster will receive a $150,000 grant.

Jackie Teed, the city’s director of planning and development, said the city sought this grant to fund development approvals improvements, including implementation of outcomes from its internal development application process review, which staff recently completed.

“We anticipate bringing a report to council on this prior to the summer break, which will have more details,” she said.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said the Local Government Development Approvals program was created so local governments can improve their internal processes and development approvals, so the province can speed up the delivery of homes for people living and working in B.C.

"We're leaving no stone unturned in our work to deliver more homes for people, faster," he said in a news release.

The program, administered through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, was created to help local governments implement best practices and develop innovative ways to support non-profit housing organizations, developers and other stakeholders to speed up the delivery of homes.

"Local governments throughout B.C. have been implementing changes to streamline development-approvals processes to address community-building goals," UBCM president Trish Mandewo said in the news release. "This funding will help catalyze that work and support local governments as they implement best practices related to permit approvals, inspections and more."

Last spring, the provincial government announced its new Homes for People housing plan, which includes efforts aimed at speeding up construction of new homes and increasing the supply of “middle-income” housing. Initiatives included in this plan include: creating more small-scale, multi-unit housing (SSMUH), including town homes, duplexes and triplexes through zoning changes and partnerships; encouraging the development of more homes near public transit through transit oriented development (TOD) areas; and streamlining and modernizing permitting to reduce costs and speed up approvals to get homes built faster.

The province's news release has provided some examples of how the program will help some local governments meet housing needs in their communities:

* The City of Burnaby will continue streamlining approval processes for simple and complex buildings. This includes developing business-process documentation and approvals guidance for staff and applicants, undertaking change-management activities and building staff capacity.

* The District of Peachland will initiate a development-approval streamlining project to clarify and improve the development-application process. The project will involve co-ordinating with neighbouring communities to increase consistency across jurisdictions and facilitating collaboration across departments to reduce application delays.

* The Regional District of Mount Waddington is developing a pre-application process so applicants are aware of varying requirements needed for their applications so there is less delay when asking for information.

* The Village of McBride is exploring ways to improve and expedite the development-approval processes and bylaws to get more homes and businesses built within the community quicker.