December 14, 2021
Climate 2050: Buildings and Transportation Roadmaps approved
As discussed in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver has developed a series of roadmaps to supplement their Climate 2050. The roadmaps indicate which actions are led by Metro Vancouver, other organizations, or require collaboration.
Last month, the first two roadmaps were endorsed by the Metro Vancouver Board that identify the strategies and actions that are necessary to achieve emissions reductions and help the region’s buildings and transportation system be resilient to a changing climate.
To read the roadmaps click here.
UDI Metro 2050 Letter
On November 26th, UDI submitted a letter to Metro Vancouver regarding the Draft Metro 2050 Regional Growth Strategy. The letter includes feedback from UDI members on linking land use and transportation, the need for municipal housing targets, and specific comments on each of the five goals of the Draft RGS:
- Create a Compact Urban Area
- Support a Sustainable Economy
- Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change and Natural Hazards
- Provide Diverse and Affordable Housing Choices
- Support Sustainable Transportation Choices
UDI will continue to communicate with members as Metro 2050 moves forward. For more information on the engagement process and next steps for the strategy, visit the Metro Vancouver website here.
November 16, 2021
Regional Growth Strategy (RGS)
On October 29, the Metro Vancouver Regional District (MVRD) Board approved moving forward with a process to re-designate the lands in South Campbell Heights under the Metro Vancouver 2040 Regional Growth Strategy. This was done at the request of the City of Surrey and was supported by Metro staff in their Report (starting on page 139) to the Board. UDI also wrote a letter of support (please see attached) because of the need in our Region for “… light industrial and job space with good transportation access that South Campbell Heights will be able to provide.”
The 228.39 ha of lands in South Campbell Heights are currently designated Rural within a Special Study Area under Metro Vancouver 2040 and Surrey is requesting that they be re-designated to several land uses:
- 160.77 ha Mixed Employment;
- 55.52 ha Conservation & Recreation; and
- 12.1 ha Agricultural.
In addition, 13.38 ha of Mixed Employment lands would convert to Conservation & Recreation. The Urban Containment Boundary would be extended to encompass South Campbell Heights, which will allow the area to be serviced.
With the approval of the Metro Board on October 29, the RGS amendment process for South Campbell Heights was initiated. The amendment bylaw will be referred to local governments and agencies for comment. It is anticipated that “… staff will report back to the MVRD Board at a meeting in early 2022 with a summary of any comments received on the proposed amendment …,” and at that time, they will bring the amendment bylaw forward for consideration of final reading.
Please note that Metro Vancouver is still seeking comments on Metro 2050 – the proposed updated RGS – by November 26, 2021. If you have any comments or questions about it, please contact Heather Park at 604.661.3034.
November 2, 2021
Transport 2050 & Metro 2050
As noted in the last newsletter, TransLink is in Phase 3 of its Transport 2050 initiative, which will be the thirty-year transportation strategy for our Region. They released a draft of Transport 2050, and asked for comments by October 29. Last week, UDI held a webinar on the draft Strategy and Metro 2050, which is Metro Vancouver’s thirty-year Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). Please see the slides for TransLink’s presentation. Please see UDI’s comments to TransLink regarding the draft Transport 2050 Strategy.
Metro Vancouver is also seeking comments on their draft Metro 2050 RGS by November 26, and UDI will be responding to them, as it is a critical document for the future growth of the Region and builders. Please see their presentation from the October 26 webinar. If you have any questions or comments regarding Metro 2050, please contact Heather Park at 604.661.3034.
Metro Vancouver Introduces Invest Vancouver
Metro Vancouver announced the of launch of Invest Vancouver — an economic development leadership service — on September 24. Formerly called the Regional Economic Prosperity Service, Invest Vancouver has connected extensively in 2021 with local leaders and organizations to identify the region’s four economic development priorities: investing in the people of our region, catalyzing innovation, building capacity in key export-oriented industries, and increasing our global connectedness.
Invest Vancouver has accelerated its ambitious work in myriad ways, such as building and strengthening key economic development, trade, and investment partnerships and collaborations, as well as engaging with decision-makers on industrial development policy and opportunities to catalyze innovation.
Invest Vancouver also announced an agreement in principle with Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon, to work together to create a workforce development initiative that will prepare thousands of Metro Vancouver residents for well-paying jobs in the region’s growing high-tech sector.
Learn more and sign up to their email newsletter at https://investvancouver.ca/ .
Clean Air Plan
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver has been developing a Clean Air Plan (CAP), which has been approved by the Metro Vancouver Board of Directors. It “… is Metro Vancouver’s air quality and greenhouse gas management plan,” and “… is intended to reduce air contaminant emissions and impacts, including greenhouse gases, over the next 10 years, and in doing so support the 30-year commitment to a carbon neutral region by 2050.”
In addition to a 2030 Regional target to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 45% below 2010 levels, there are several 2030 sectoral targets for buildings noted in the CAP that will impact UDI members, including:
- “35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, from 2010 levels;
- 35% reduction in fine particulate matter emissions from buildings, from 2020 levels;
- 15% reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions from buildings, from 2020 levels;
- All new buildings are zero emissions in their operations; and
- All new buildings produce 40% less embodied emissions from construction.”
There are also 29 Big Moves, including some that will impact the industry, such as:
- Establishing requirements for new buildings so they will be zero carbon in operations by 2030;
- Establishing GHG performance requirements for existing buildings, so they will be zero carbon by 2050;
- Putting a price on driving vehicles through “… mobility pricing, transportation pricing, usage-based insurance, fuel taxes, etc.”;
- Developing a Regional Parking Strategy;
- Reducing non-road equipment emissions, by potentially having local governments incent builders to use low emission equipment through “… development benefits such as lower building permit fees;” and
- Working “… with member jurisdictions to explore whether business licences can be used to accelerate adoption of low and zero emission medium and heavy duty vehicles.”
UDI participated in the stakeholder sessions that Metro Vancouver held, and provided a response to their draft CAP.
October 19, 2021
Transport 2050 Phase 3
As noted in previous newsletters, TransLink is developing Transport 2050 – “… the region’s next 30-year transportation strategy.” They are now in Phase 3, and on October 12 released a Draft Strategy. The Vision for the Strategy is “Access for Everyone,” and there are five goals:
To support these goals, TransLink has developed over 100 proposed actions, including:
- Linking land use with transportation investments to support “… walkable, complete, and affordable communities …” through Supportive Policy Agreements with local governments;
- Implementing “… policies aimed at preventing residential and small business displacement …,” near transit projects;
- Developing “… complete networks of traffic-protected bikeways within every urban centre …,” and 850 km of major bikeways to connect urban centres;
- Ensuring that all urban communities are within a 5 minute walk of frequent local transit service;
- Adding 310 km to the rapid transit network (see below) that is currently only 100 km – although much of the expansion will be delivered through bus based services;
- Considering additional ferry services;
- Having housing affordability targets along the major transit growth corridors through Partnership Agreements, and adopting “… Development Contribution Expectation policies … to preserve and grow affordable and rental housing along these corridors …” (in the City of Vancouver DCEs range from $330 to $425 ft2);
- Improving Transportation Demand Management policies and programs;
- Eliminate parking minimums and unbundling parking;
- Expanding the use of digital tools and shared mobility – including micromobility devices;
- Developing “… mobility hubs at high usage transit stops and all transit stations to enable seamless transfers between different transportation options;”
- Developing “… universal basic mobility where fares and fees are based on an individual’s ability to pay” (this would also apply to transportation taxes);
- Exploring “… moving more containers by rail directly from marine container terminals to transload facilities to reduce drayage space and transportation requirements within the South
- Requiring “… the provision of appropriate end-of-trip facilities … at non-residential trip-generating uses,” as well as adequate and secure bike storage facilities in residential developments;
- Engaging “… with developers and building managers to coordinate delivery infrastructure (such as parcel lockers) …;”
- Requiring noise and vibration measures to be incorporated into new projects; and
- “… Restricting physical access for non-zero-emissions vehicles in urban areas, ” and exploring “… emissions-based licensing, parking, and pick-up and drop-off charges;”
Phase 3 only runs until October 29, and they are asking stakeholders and the public to fill out a survey. UDI will be hosting a webinar with TransLink staff to review the Draft Strategy on October 26. In addition, Metro Vancouver staff will be presenting their update to the Regional Growth Strategy – Metro 2050 at the webinar. It is anticipated that the Final Transport 2050 Strategy will be brought forward to the Mayors’ Council for adoption early next year.
October 5, 2021
Metro Vancouver and TransLink Development Cost Charges (DCCs)
As noted in the last newsletter, Metro Vancouver is updating its Liquid Waste DCC rates and beginning to consult on a new DCC for regional water infrastructure. Metro staff held webinars on the proposed changes in mid-September and have now released the slides from the consultation sessions. UDI and the Home Builders Association Vancouver (HAVAN) wrote the attached letter to Metro Vancouver regarding the proposed DCCs.
It is anticipated that the Liquid Waste DCCs will go to the Metro Board for initial approval before the end of the year. The Province will then review the By-law, before Metro can finalize and implement the new rates (likely early to mid 2022). Please see the proposed rates in the table below:
With regard to the proposed DCC for regional water infrastructure, Metro Vancouver is at a very preliminary stage. In fact, the legislation to allow the DCC has not been completed. Metro staff indicated that the legislation will replicate the same framework as the one for the Liquid Waste DCCs. They updated their Water Committee about the DCC in a June 18 Report. Please note the proposed rates listed in the Report are preliminary, and subject to change. However, staff noted that there will be one substantive difference between the Liquid Waste and Water DCCs. The former is divided into four sub-regions with different fees, and “The water DCC program will operate at the regional level, with one fee structure.”
For more information about the Metro Vancouver DCCs, please see their FAQs or contact Metro staff at email@example.com.
TransLink has also contacted UDI about inflationary adjustments to their DCCs. On September 23, “TransLink’s board unanimously approved a 0.6% increase to the regional DCC rates effective Jan 1, 2022.” Further information can be found on their DCC webpage, and the new rates are listed below:
|Type of Development||Current TransLink DCC Rates||Rates as of January 1, 2022|
|Single Family Dwelling||$2,975/unit||$2,993/unit|
|Townhouse Dwelling Unit||$2,470/unit||$2,485/unit|
|Apartment Dwelling Unit||$1,545/unit||$1,554/unit|
If you have any questions/comments about the TransLink DCCs, please contact Heather Park at 604.661.3034.
Suspension of Construction/Demolition Waste to the Vancouver Landfill
Please see the attached letter from the City of Vancouver regarding a “Temporary Suspension of Deliveries of Construction and Demolition Processing Residual Waste …” to the Vancouver Landfill starting October 15, 2021. The suspension is due to the potential risk that the Vancouver Landfill, which is one of two landfills serving the construction and demolition industry in the region, will exceed its total annual permitted capacity authorized by the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. The suspension will last at least until the end of 2021. If you have any questions regarding it, please contact the City of Vancouver’s Landfill Office at 604-606-2700.
The only other available construction and demolition landfill disposal facility in Metro Vancouver is in Richmond, the Ecowaste Landfill and Recycling Centre, and it is also facing regulatory and capacity constraints.
September 21, 2021
Encapsulated Mass Timber (EMT) Survey Questions
UDI has been a strong supporter of EMT construction. Anne McMullin, UDI’s President & CEO, sits on the Province’s Mass Timber Advisory Council, and we have been holding several educational events on EMT, including one about the Cost & Schedule Implications of Using Mass Timber earlier this month, and another one next week (September 28) about Advancing Mass Timber in BC.
The Province and several local governments have also been supportive of mass timber construction. Over 20 jurisdictions in British Columbia are participating in the Government’s Tall Wood Initiative, so they can be early adopters of 12-storey EMT buildings. To learn more about the rise of mass timber buildings in BC, read here. We are seeking input from the building industry regarding how they can best support this type of construction, and would like to know:
- What obstacles are currently in place at the local level that discourage EMT;
- What steps can local governments take to encourage EMT – particularly zoning and processing changes; and
- Are you aware of any municipalities in British Columbia with pro-mass timber policies?
- Are you aware of any municipal zoning that is specifically geared toward 7 to 12 storey EMT construction?
Please respond to these questions at this survey link. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Lily Shields-Anderson at 604.901.1948.
TransLink TDM Guidelines
In November 2020, TransLink began leading the development of a regional guideline document that would focus on the integration of Transportation Demand Management (TDM) measures within new developments.
The purpose of these guidelines is to provide local jurisdictions and the development community with insight and opportunities to improve the processes, strategic development, and implementation of transportation demand management across the region. UDI and several of our members were part of the process of developing these guidelines and met with TransLink to provide input. The final TDM Guidelines can be viewed here.
TransLink will continue to scope out the next stages of their work which were not yet incorporated into this document. If you have any comments on these guidelines, please contact Cassandra McColman.
Metro Vancouver Development Cost Charges (DCCs) Update
As noted in the last newsletter, Metro Vancouver is updating its Liquid Waste DCC rates and beginning to consult on a new DCC for regional water infrastructure. On September 13 and 15, they held online forums regarding the changes. At the sessions, staff noted that the Liquid Waste DCCs will go to their Board for initial approval before the end of the year. The Province will then review the By-law, before Metro can finalize the new rates (likely early to mid 2022).
Metro staff also indicated that they are at a very preliminary stage with regard to the new Water DCC. In fact, the proposed rates reported in the July 15th Report to the Metro Vancouver Water Committee may be adjusted.
At the meetings, the building sector provided several comments, including:
- The increases are substantial, with some rates rising over 80% (see below);
- The need for more notice of future DCC rate changes, and a request to defer the implementation of the new Liquid Waste DCC rates because of the late notice of the significant increases;
- Support for Annual DCC Increases (which is not allowed under their legislation) as opposed to having significant increases every few years;
- The need to make the Water DCC legislation consistent with the Liquid Waste DCC regulatory framework – otherwise Metro should consult with stakeholders before the new legislation is approved; and
- The need to adjust Metro’s affordable housing reduction/waiver policy to ensure that affordable housing projects that are built by developers and handed over to non-profit operators after occupancy can receive DCC reductions/waivers.
UDI will be responding to the consultation. If you have any questions or comments regarding the DCCs, please contact Heather Park at 604.661.3034, or email Metro Vancouver staff directly. Below are the proposed DCC rates for Liquid Waste:
September 7, 2021
Development Cost Charges (DCCs) Update
Metro Vancouver is updating is Liquid Waste DCC rates, and establishing a new DCC for regional water infrastructure. They are hosting online forums on the proposed changes on Monday, September 13 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm and Wednesday, September 15 from 10:00 am to 11:00 am. You can register here.
In terms of the Liquid Waste DCCs, they were last updated in 2018. The current and proposed rates are noted below.
With regard to the new Water DCC, Metro is working with the Province to update the Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD) Act, to allow the Region to charge DCCs for water infrastructure. Unlike the sewerage rates that are divided into four different areas, there will be one set of rates for the Water DCC, which were proposed in a July 15th report to the Metro Vancouver Water Committee to be:
- Single-Family – $1,338 / unit;
- Townhouse – $1,139 / unit;
- Apartment – $852 / unit; and
- Non-Residential – $0.68 / ft2 of floor area.
UDI will keep members updated as the consultations on the new DCC rates progress. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Metro Vancouver staff at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Cassandra McColman at UDI. She can be reached at 604.661.3032.
- Engagement Plan for Liquid Waste Development Cost Charge Program Update Report; and
- DCC FAQ Document.
August 24, 2021
Metro Vancouver DCC Program Update
On September 13th from 1-2pm and September 15th from 10-11am, Metro Vancouver will be holding online forums to learn about and provide input to proposed updates to the liquid waste development cost charge (DCC), and the establishment of a new DCC for regional water infrastructure. To register, please click here.
July 13, 2021
Metro 2050 Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Draft Released
As noted in previous newsletters, “In 2019, Metro Vancouver began updating Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future, the current regional growth strategy.” In June, Metro released a draft of the update – Metro 2050. It will be a critical document for UDI members because each municipal Official Community Plan (OCP) must include a Regional Context Statement (RCS) outlining how “… the goals, strategies, and actions identified in the regional growth strategy …,” are achieved in the OCP.
In addition, the RGS includes parcel based maps with regional land use designations (e.g. General Urban, Industrial, Employment Lands, Agricultural, Rural and Conservation & Recreation) which limit the types of uses that a local government can allow on the parcels. The maps also include an Urban Containment Boundary (UCB). Metro has set a target that only 2% of the Region’s growth can occur outside the UCB, and Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District sewerage connections are not allowed (except for a few circumstances) in these areas.
The draft RGS is organized around five goals:
- “Create a Compact Urban Area;
- Support a Sustainable Economy;
- Protect the Environment and Respond to Climate Change and Natural Hazards;
- Provide Diverse and Affordable Housing Choices; and
- Support Sustainable Transportation Choices.”
There are a number of other key policies that will be important for UDI members, including:
- Better integrating transportation infrastructure with land use planning;
- Development (infrastructure, employment, institutional, residential, and community facilities) being concentrated in Urban Centres, and Frequent Transit Development Areas (FTDAs) along TransLink’s Major Transit Network;
- Discouraging “non-residential Major Trip Generating uses” such as business parks and shopping malls outside of the Urban Centres and FTDAs;
- Guidelines for Urban Centres and FTDAs;
- Reducing parking requirements in Urban Centres and FTDAs;
- Exploring financial tools and incentives to support commercial development in Urban Centres;
- Exploring property tax reform to support “… sound land use decisions.”
- Protecting industrial lands – including having municipalities identify Trade-Oriented Lands for “… terminal facilities, distribution centres, warehouses, container storage, and freight forwarding activities …,” and preventing these sites from being stratified or subdivided into small lots;
- Establishing buffers to protect certain types of land use designations such as Agricultural, Industrial and Conservation & Recreation;
- Potentially allowing affordable/rental housing on the upper floors of mid- to high-rise buildings on designated Employment lands within 200 metres of rapid transit stations within Urban Centres and FTDAs;
- Increasing lands protected for nature from 40% to 50% of the Metro Vancouver land base, and increasing the tree canopy cover in the Region from 32% to 40% with thirty years;
- Improving the energy efficiency of and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from both new and existing buildings;
- Establishing a regional definition for affordable housing – “… housing that is affordable to households earning up to 120% of the Regional Median Housing Income.”
- Establishing “… a regional target of 15% affordable rental housing in new and redeveloped housing development within Urban Centres and Frequent Transit Development Areas …”;
- Developing regulatory tools to protect/preserve rental housing and having better protections for displaced tenants;
- Increasing the “… supply of market and below-market rental housing through the renewal of aging purpose-built rental housing and prevention of net rental unit loss;”
- Supporting transportation demand management strategies such a parking pricing and mobility pricing; and
- Having an extensive monitoring program to ensure that the goals established in the RGS are being met.
It is anticipated that Metro Vancouver will grow by more than 1 million people and add 500,000 jobs over the next thirty years. Half a million dwelling units will be needed and half of those will be apartment units. The draft includes projections for Metro’s sub-regions and targets for the Metropolitan Core in Vancouver and Surrey’s Metro Core as well as accumulated targets for the FTDAs, Regional City Centres and Municipal Town Centres.
We are in Phase 2 of the Metro 2050 process – Plan Development. The draft RGS is open for comment until November 26, 2021. UDI will be hosting a seminar on Metro 2050 in the fall, and will be responding to the draft. The final phase will begin in early to mid 2022 when Metro Vancouver will be seeking approval of Metro 2050 from local governments and TransLink. It would then need to receive final approval from the Metro Board. Within two years of that approval, local governments would need to submit their RCSs to the Metro Board for acceptance. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Heather Park at 604.661.3034.
Metro Vancouver Tree Regulations Toolkit
Metro Vancouver has released its Tree Regulations Toolkit to provide guidance for member jurisdictions and others on how they can develop comprehensive policy and regulations to preserve trees and grow tree canopy within British Columbia’s current legislative framework. The Toolkit provides an overview of available approaches to regulating trees, with considerations for selecting the right tools for a given community and descriptions of those tools. These tools include zoning as well as subdivision and servicing bylaws, with a comprehensive review of environmental development permit areas, covenants, and tree bylaws.
Metro 2050 Regional Resilience Framework
In 2020, Metro Vancouver partnered with TransLink to study how to increase the resiliency of policy actions in Metro 2050 and Transport 2050. The Regional Resilience Framework was an important input and consideration during the development of the new and amended policy directions in Metro 2050. It assesses how resilient current long-range land use and transportation planning policies are to unexpected shocks and stresses. The detailed recommendations to improve policies and increase future regional resilience include:
- Supporting member jurisdictions in adopting Hazard, Risk and Vulnerability Analysis into long range planning;
- Regionally coordinating data and mapping of critical infrastructure;
- Incorporating the updated Regional Greenways Network to increase active transportation options
- Coupling climate mitigation and adaptation strategies to increase climate resilience;
- Focusing on strategies that reduce the need for travel, in addition to transportation capital investment
- Working with member jurisdictions to address social inequity to decrease vulnerability to a wide range of stresses and shocks.
June 29, 2021
Clean Air Plan
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver released a draft Clean Air Plan 2021 (CAP), and was seeking comments from the public and stakeholders on the recommendations in the report. The CAP will assist the Metro Vancouver in achieving its Climate 2050 goals of making the region carbon neutral by 2050 and reducing regional Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 45% relative to 2010 levels by 2030. The CAP includes several Targets and Actions for buildings, transportation and other sectors. Please see UDI’s response to the draft Clean Air Plan.
Buildings & Transportation Roadmaps on Climate
Metro has also released two key draft Climate 2050 Roadmaps, which will impact UDI members – Buildings: A Pathway to Zero Emissions and Resilient Buildings, and Transportation: A Pathway to Carbon Neutral Transportation in Metro Vancouver. The Buildings Roadmap includes several Targets that are similar to those in the draft CAP noted above including:
- A 35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, relative to 2010 levels.
- All new buildings are zero emissions in their operations.
- All new buildings produce 40% less embodied emissions from construction.
- All buildings are zero emissions in their operation, deriving all energy needs from 100% clean and renewable sources.
- All new buildings are carbon neutral in their embodied emissions from construction.”
There are additional Targets to improve climate resiliency, including:
- World-leading water conservation in new buildings by 2030;
- Cooling and air filtration “… to protect against extreme heat and harmful outdoor air quality events,” by the end of the decade; and
- New buildings being resilient to flooding and extreme storms by 2030.
There are also several proposed Actions that are similar to those in the draft CAP, including:
- GHG Performance requirements for new and existing buildings;
- Energy labeling for buildings;
- Mandating improved indoor air quality;
- Incentives and financial mechanisms for low carbon upgrades;
- Advocating that BC Hydro improve its rate design and connection policy to make building electrification easier;
- Developing “… a regulatory pathway to achieve zero carbon district energy systems by 2050 …”;
- Mandating lower embodied carbon emissions for new construction and retrofits;
- Mandating “… the highest efficiency standards for water use in buildings,” and broadening the use on non-potable water;
- Requiring cooling in new and existing buildings (when they are retrofitted); and
- Establishing “… increasingly stringent code requirements for ventilation and filtration systems in new construction,” as well as improved “… energy efficiency standards for new and imported heating and cooling equipment …”.
In terms of the draft Transportation Roadmap, there is target of a 65% reduction in GHG emissions from 2010 levels by 2030, and a 100% reduction by 2050. For medium and heavy vehicles the reductions targets are 35% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. By 2050, Metro Vancouver would like all vehicles to be zero emissions. Key Actions include:
- Mandating that by 2030 all new passenger vehicle sales be zero emissions;
- Developing “… Regional Emission Requirements for Passenger Vehicles,” through measures such as vehicle emission levies and having low/zero emission zones;
- Expanding “… Electric Vehicle Charging in Buildings;”
- Improving public transit and active transportation and funding for them – including through the adoption of a regional mobility pricing;
- Developing a “Regional Parking Strategy to Reduce Parking;”
- Establishing “Zero Emission Sales Targets for New Medium and Heavy Trucks;” and
- Regulating emissions and fuel economy for existing medium/heavy vehicles.
UDI will be discussing the draft Roadmaps with Metro Vancouver staff and providing a response to the documents. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the project team or Heather Park at UDI. She can be reached by email or by phone at 604.661.3034.
June 1, 2021
TransLink announces new CEO
On May 18, TransLink announced Kevin Quinn as its next Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The TransLink Board of Directors made the appointment following a competitive international candidate search and thorough review process. He takes on the role beginning July 19, 2021.
Kevin is currently the Administrator and Chief Executive Officer of the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA), overseeing one of the largest multi-modal transit systems in the United States. With a mix of six transit modes, including buses, subway, light rail, paratransit, and commuter bus and rail, and over 100 million passengers a year, MTA has strong parallels to TransLink.
Metro Vancouver’s draft Clean Air Plan
Metro Vancouver’s draft 2021 Clean Air Plan is the regional plan for managing air quality and greenhouse gases over the next 10 years. Actions in the plan will reduce air contaminant emissions, including greenhouse gases, and support the commitment to a carbon neutral region by 2050. The Clean Air Plan will also help improve air quality in the region. The draft plan includes over 130 actions and recommendations in key areas, to reduce emissions from the largest sources in this region: transportation of people and goods, buildings we live and work in, industrial sources, and others.
Metro Vancouver is seeking comments and feedback on the proposed actions and suggestions for implementation until June 15, 2021. You are invited to review the plan and provide your feedback through a public forum and/or by submitting a feedback form. The draft plan is published at the Metro Vancouver website, along with a report summary and feedback form.
May 18, 2021
As noted in the previous newsletter, TransLink is in its second phase of consultations for Transport 2050 – a new Regional Transportation Strategic Plan for the next 30 years. TransLink staff participated in a UDI webinar on Phase 2 last week. TransLink also released a Discussion Guide and three backgrounders on People-first Streets, Automated Vehicles and two potential future transit expansion options.
UDI has provided its feedback on Phase 2 highlighting the need to link transit infrastructure funding with appropriate land use planning, housing and job spaces as well as the need for mobility pricing – given diminishing revenues from the gas tax due to electric cars. The Phase 3 consultations will begin this Fall when TransLink releases a draft Transport 2050 Strategy.
May 4, 2021
TransLink – Transport 2050
As noted in previous UDI newsletters, TransLink is developing a new Regional Transportation Strategic Plan for the next 30 years – Transport 2050. It will be aligned with Metro Vancouver’s Metro 2050 Regional Growth Strategy (also noted previous newsletters). Transport 2050 is now in its second phase of consultation and will cover all modes of transportation.
In Phase 1 (May 3 – Sept. 22, 2019), TransLink ask for feedback on what is important to the Region and for “… bold and creative ideas for the future.” They have now released a Phase 2 Discussion Guide with draft transportation goals and potential actions to meet them. They are consulting on those goals and actions in Phase 2 which will run from April 19 to May 14 and are asking the public to complete a survey. The Final Phase (Review the draft Strategy) will occur this Fall.
The draft five goals are:
- Convenient Choices (universally accessible choices to allow people to conveniently connect to opportunities without a car);
- Safety/Comfort; and
- Zero Carbon Transportation.
TransLink has also released Backgrounders on their three proposed actions, which are:
- “People-first streets that invite walking, biking, and rolling;
- Fast and frequent rapid transit that’s a competitive choice for longer trips; and
- Automated vehicles that provide convenient access to car trips, without adding to congestion.”
The proposals for increasing transit infrastructure in the Region are bold. TransLink offers two potential visions. The first would increase the mass transit infrastructure (SkyTrain lines, LRTs and BRTs) by 200 km, but half of this would be new SkyTrain lines. The second would increase mass transit by 400 km (fifty km of which would be new SkyTrain lines). Please see the two graphics below.
On May 10, between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., UDI will be holding a Transport 2050: Shaping the Future of How We Move and Live webinar with Eve Hou, Manager of Policy Development at TransLink.
April 20, 2021
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver is updating its Metro 2040 Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). It is called Metro 2050, and it will be the Regional Plan for the next 30 years. It will also aligned with TransLink’s Transport 2050 initiative – the Region’s transportation strategy for the next three decades.
UDI met with Metro Vancouver staff regarding their work on the Metro 2050 initiative. They have completed eleven Policy Reviews that will now be incorporated into draft Metro 2050 document, which will likely be referred for consultation by the Metro Board in June. The consultation period will occur this Fall, and UDI will be organizing an event to review Metro 2050 at that time. It is anticipated that the new RGS will be approved by Summer 2022. Of the eleven Policy Reviews that Metro conducted, they have publicly released eight Policy Review Summaries:
- Urban Centres and Frequent Transit Development Areas;
- Industrial and Mixed Employment;
- Complete Communities;
- Rural Areas;
- Housing; and
Metro Vancouver 2020 Regional Industrial Lands Inventory (RILI)
On April 9, Metro staff provided the Regional Planning Committee with the 2020 Regional Industrial Lands Inventory (RILI) (see Section 5.4). Metro Vancouver conducts a RILI every five years. The reports summarize the quantity and quality of industrial lands in the Region.
This year’s Inventory shows that there are 11,502 ha of industrial lands in the Metro Vancouver region, but 9,387 ha (82%) are developed with rest (2,115 ha) being classed Other/Vacant. Please see the Regional breakdown in the chart below. One-quarter of the industrial lands were used for trade oriented logistics and 40% were categorized as “Building Intensive Industrial”.
Although 252 ha were added to the Industrial Lands Inventory over the past five years, 507 ha were absorbed (moved into the Developed category). Metro Vancouver is also concerned that the lands added to the Inventory were not as good as the lands removed from it – especially for the trade-oriented/logistics sector. Metro Vancouver is also concerned that industrial sites are being lost as some lands have been redesignated to other uses or they are being used by commercial businesses due to flexible industrial municipal zoning. Metro believes that the lack of industrial land supply is impacting the demand for it. As such, they are seeking to address the issue through Metro 2050 (see above) and the 2020 Metro Vancouver Regional Industrial Lands Strategy.
Mixed Employment Lands and Transit Stations
On April 9, 2021, Blaire Chisholm of the Pooni Group gave a presentation on behalf of UDI, the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties – Vancouver, and the BC Non-Profit Housing Association to the Metro Vancouver Regional Planning Committee about Mixed Employment Lands in Transit Oriented Development areas. As part of Metro 2050 (see above), Metro Vancouver is considering allowing additional flexibility for Mixed Employment Lands within 200 metres of SkyTrain stations, so that “… transit-oriented affordable housing …,” can be built. The purpose of the industry presentation was to identify the opportunities for increasing the delivery of affordable housing and employment spaces if the 200 metres was extended further. Please see the Metro staff memo on the issue (see Section 5.5).
Clean Air Plan (CAP)
Metro Vancouver has released its draft Clean Air Plan 2021 (please see the information video) and is seeking comments from interested parties. The CAP “… is Metro Vancouver’s air quality and greenhouse gas management plan,” and “… is intended to reduce air contaminant emissions and impacts, including greenhouse gases, over the next 10 years, and in doing so support the 30-year commitment to a carbon neutral region by 2050.” The Plan will assist Metro achieving its 2030 target to reduce regional Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 45% relative to 2010 levels. Metro has also established several “Issue Area 2030 Targets” for transportation, buildings, industry, and agriculture through the CAP. For the building sector they are:
- “35% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings, from 2010 levels;
- 35% reduction in fine particulate matter emissions from buildings, from 2020 levels;
- 15% reduction in nitrogen oxides emissions from buildings, from 2020 levels;
- All new buildings are zero emissions in their operations; and
- All new buildings produce 40% less embodied emissions from construction.”
There are also a number of proposed actions being considered, including:
- Developing GHG Performance Requirements for New Buildings and Existing Large Buildings;
- Developing Emission Requirements for District Energy Systems;
- Reducing Non-Road Emissions and Supporting Early Adoption of Zero Emission Non-Road Equipment;
- Supporting Regional Mobility Pricing;
- Developing a Regional Parking Strategy; and
- Regulating New and Existing Medium/Heavy Trucks – including through business licensing.
Metro is seeking comments on the CAP by June 15. If you have any issues or questions, please contact Cassandra McColman by June 1 or Metro staff by email.
April 6, 2021
Metro Vancouver Construction and Demolition Waste
To address construction/demolition waste, which represents one-third of the waste disposed in the region, Metro Vancouver has updated its Construction and Demolition Waste Reduction and Recycling Toolkit. It includes “… practical information for contractors, designers and homeowners on the reuse and recycling of building materials, including a contact directory of service providers and facilities.” Information on alternative approaches such as deconstruction that “… can salvage and redistribute up to 95% of building materials for reuse or recycling,” are also highlighted. Metro also developed an online demolition waste generation calculator “… to help building permit applicants estimate the waste they may generate on site and the minimum amount of waste they need to divert to meet their municipality’s recycling requirements.”
March 23, 2021
The Fraser Institute’s Survey of Residential Land Use Regulation
The Fraser Institute is seeking responses for its updated Survey of Residential Land Use Regulation. The survey seeks to collect information on the costs and barriers facing developers in major Canadian urban areas, including the Lower Mainland. The results of the survey help educate Canadians about how costs and delays faced by developers directly impact Canadian homebuyers and renters, by restricting the supply of housing. This is particularly important in supply-constrained housing markets such as the Lower Mainland.
If you would like to participate in the survey, please follow the link, here.
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver is reviewing its Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). The update will extend the plan from 2040 to 2050. UDI participated in several initial consultations. Metro developed several Policy Reviews (see below), and publicly released eight Policy Review Summaries (in bold):
- Urban Centre and FTDA Policy Review;
- Environment Policy Review;
- Climate Change Policy Review;
- Agriculture Policy Review;
- Rural Lands Policy Review;
- Industrial and Mixed Employment Policy Review;
- Housing Policy Review;
- Transportation Policy Review;
- Complete Communities Policy Review; and
- Implementation Policy Review.
A draft RGS 2050 Plan will be going to the Metro Board in June, and there will be a formal comment period from September to December of this year. It would then be finalized next year. Metro is asking for feedback on their proposals, and there are a number of issues that will impact UDI members including:
- Having a clearer regional definition of industrial, so there is more consistency across Metro;
- Having more land use flexibility for industrial lands within 200 metres of a transit station;
- Establishing a regional definition for housing affordability;
- Having more detailed housing targets and monitoring them;
- This includes housing affordability metrics – especially near transit;
- Asking local governments “… to identify how much growth will be going to transit oriented corridors over time and how they will be supporting transit oriented development along the Frequent Transit Corridor Network;”
- Updating the targets for Urban Centres and Frequent Transit Development Areas and potentially having targets for sub-regions and municipalities;
- Reducing carbon emissions in the building sector;
- Ensuring that new housing is built away from what will be hazard areas in the future;
- Having more equitable access to community services, childcare and public spaces across Metro;
- Developing a Regional Parking Strategy;
- Protecting an additional 17,000 ha of lands by replacing the Natural Features and Land Map with a Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory Map that has been developed since 2011; and
- Having an aspirational goal of increasing the protected natural area in Metro from 40% to 50%.
One area in which Metro will not be proceeding is increasing the voter threshold to remove designated industrial lands. UDI raised concerns about the issue in our response to the Regional Industrial Lands Strategy. Metro was going to consider increasing the threshold from a simple majority weighted vote to a two-third weighted vote. This was discussed at the February 26 Board meeting, but not approved.
UDI is working with Metro Vancouver staff regarding further consultations on Metro 2050 with the industry. If you would like to make comments regarding Metro 2050 and the proposals in the Policy Review Summaries, there is comment form.
Clean Air Plan and Climate 2050
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver hosted six webinars on their Clean Air Plan and Climate 2050 initiative earlier this year. Staff recorded them, and they are available on the Climate 2050 website. Some of the sessions focused on discussion papers that Metro released on how to achieve the goals in the Clean Air Plan and Climate 2050. There are discussion papers for Buildings; Transportation; Waste; Water & Wastewater Infrastructure; Nature & Ecosystems; Industry; and Agriculture.
The Clean Air Plan will set priorities over the next decade to improve air quality in the Region. Climate 2050 has a longer time horizon – thirty years and is intended to develop strategies to meet Metro’s climate goals:
- “Infrastructure, ecosystems, and communities resilient to the impacts of climate change;
- Target a 45% reduction in emissions from 2010 levels, by 2030;
- Carbon neutral region by 2050.”
At the March 26, Metro Board meeting a Draft Clean Air Plan and Draft Climate 2050 Buildings Road Map will be discussed (please see sections E1.1. starting on page 15 and E1.2 starting on page 88). The Board is being asked to allow staff to proceed with public engagement for both reports. Key strategies in the reports are of interest to UDI members and include:
- “Accelerating the transition to zero emission passenger and commercial vehicles …;”
- “Accelerating the transition to zero emission buildings with GHG requirements for existing large and small buildings, supported by building code changes, incentives and outreach …;”
- “Reducing non-road emissions with more stringent emission requirements and incentives;”
- “Shift to Zero Carbon District Energy Systems;”
- “Accelerate the Transition to Lower Embodied Emissions in Buildings;” and
- Improve building design and develop retrofit solutions to increase climate resilience (e.g. address increasing heatwaves, wildfires, severe storms and flooding).
UDI will keep members informed as the consultations on these reports move forward.
January 26, 2021
Metro Vancouver Clean Air Plan and Climate 2050 Webinars
Metro Vancouver is hosting a series of 6 webinars this spring on the Clean Air Plan and Climate 2050. These will focus on the climate initiatives underway across the region and the goals Metro Vancouver has set for the region:
- Infrastructure, ecosystems, and communities resilient to the impacts of climate change
- Target a 45% reduction in emissions from 2010 levels, by 2030
- Carbon neutral region by 2050
For a full list of webinar topics, dates and registration information, click here.
January 12, 2021
Metro 2050 Update
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver is updating its Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future Regional Growth Strategy, which will shape the region’s growth and planning up to 2050. The first phase of the Metro 2050 Update is nearly complete as Metro staff are finalizing “… themed policy reviews based on different subject areas in Metro 2040,” including:
- “Urban Centres and Frequent Transit Development Areas;
- Industrial & Mixed Employment;
- Complete Communities;
- Climate Change & Natural Hazards;
- Implementation; and
- Growth Projections.”
Metro has released four of the reviews – Urban Centres and Frequent Transit Development Areas, Industrial & Mixed Employment, Agriculture, and Environment. The reviews include several recommendations which “…will be used in the next phase of work to determine the extent to which the strategies and policy actions should be adjusted in Metro 2050 …”.
Recommendations for Urban Centres/Frequent Transit Development Areas (FTDAs) – where growth will be focused
- Adding “… a map in Metro 2050 that identifies the Frequent Transit Corridor Network and potential areas for growth (including housing and job growth) …”;
- Asking local governments “… to identify how much growth will be going to transit oriented corridors over time and how they will be supporting transit oriented development along the Frequent Transit Corridor Network;”
- Update the Urban Centre and Frequent Transit Development Area typologies by dividing “… the Municipal Town Centre “type” into two “subtypes”: Municipal Town Centres and High Growth Municipal Town Centres and divide the FTDA “type” into two “subtypes”: Corridor FTDAs and Station Area FTDAs;”
- Establish “… clearer expectations for growth, location, and function of Urban Centres and FTDAs as well as a stronger relationship with transit service planning;”
- Establish an Urban Centre Reclassification Framework “… to guide the reclassification of one centre type to another;”
- Updating and refining Urban Centre and FTDA targets to align with 2050 Projections, and potentially establishing targets for sub-regions or local governments; and
- Add new policies to “ address emerging and critical issues, including climate change, green infrastructure, transit oriented affordable housing, childcare, and other topics that were not considered in Metro 2040.”
Recommendations for Industrial/Mixed Employment
- Develop “A clearer and stronger definition of ‘Industrial’ uses …” to “… provide for more consistent implementation across the region …”;
- Strengthen regional protections of industrial land by “… exploring a higher voting threshold for amending lands with a regional industrial land use designation, as well as developing a new regional overlay for trade-oriented lands, which may include restricting strata tenure and unit sizes;”
- “Introduce some flexibility for Mixed Employment lands by rapid transit stations to accommodate higher job density and other regional objectives,” such as affordable rental housing;
- “Encourage industrial intensification/densification;” and
- “Undertake a regional land use assessment,” to “… proactively identify the ‘best’ locations for different land uses based on a developed set of criteria (e.g. location, adjacent uses, lot size, proximity to the goods movement network).”
Recommendations for Agriculture and Environment:
- “… Carefully planning the edges of agricultural and adjacent properties and adding buffers between them…,” to “… reduce the number of nuisance complaints …”;
- “Clarify the definition of the regional Conservation and Recreation land use designation,” which may result in municipalities considering “… proposing additions to this designation through Regional Context Statements after the adoption of Metro 2050;”
- “… Replace Metro 2040 Map 10 (Natural Features and Land Cover) with the SEI [Sensitive Ecosystem Inventory] and add ecosystem protection and restoration policies that would apply within and outside of urban areas,” which would add 17,000 hectares of land for protection;
- Develop an “… aspirational target for protecting, enhancing and restoring ecosystems,” such as “… protecting an additional 10% of the region to ensure 50% of the land base is protected as a natural area;” and
- Add “… new policies to collaboratively identify, protect, enhance, and restore natural and urban elements of a regional green infrastructure network,” as well as “… to enhance green space in urban areas, particularly in underserved communities …”.
UDI will continue to update members on the progress of the Metro 2050 Update, which is anticipated to be completed next year.
Metro Vancouver Industrial Lands Densification Webinar
Metro Vancouver recently hosted a public webinar to address the status of industrial lands and the potential for densification in this region. Forms of and opportunities for multi-level and mixed industrial/commercial buildings that provide a viable location for businesses to locate, grow and prosper, while supporting the broader economy and community, were discussed.
You can view a recording of the webcast and the presentation slides on the Metro Vancouver website.
More information about Industrial Lands can be found on the Metro Vancouver website here.
November 17, 2020
Climate 2050 Discussion Papers
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver is developing a long-term strategy to guide the Region to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and become more resilient for the next three decades – Climate 2050. They have been writing ten discussion papers that will address carbon reduction, adaptation, and air quality, which “… will be used to develop a series of issue area ‘Roadmaps’ in the coming months…”. The Roadmaps will outline the long-term climate mitigation/adaptation goals, targets, strategies and actions for Metro Vancouver. Six discussion papers have now been released:
- Waste (comments accepted until December 30, 2020)
- Agriculture (comments accepted until December 30, 2020), and
- Nature and Ecosystems (comments accepted until December 30, 2020).
Metro Vancouver is seeking feedback on the last three discussion papers (Waste, Agriculture and Nature & Ecosystems), and are asking responses to be sent to: Climate2050@metrovancouver.org.
UDI would also be interested in your feedback. If you have any comments or questions, please contact Cassandra McColman.
September 8, 2020
Transportation planning study launches in the Fraser Valley
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is initiating a multi-modal transportation and development study for the Fraser Valley. This study will build off existing provincial and municipal plans.
The purpose of the study is to look for opportunities to help reduce future traffic congestion, such as worker mobility, shorter commutes and managing traffic demand. It will look at traffic congestion and travel demand in the fast-growing region and examine and evaluate options for new transit and transportation initiatives.
The study will also consider development and land use in relation to transportation. The Ministry will be engaging with key stakeholders such as, local governments, Indigenous Communities, transit agencies, community groups, key sector businesses.
See here for more information.
August 25, 2020
Climate 2050 Discussion Paper on Nature and Ecosystems
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver is developing a long-term strategy to guide the Region to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and become more resilient for the next three decades – Climate 2050. They have been writing ten discussion papers that will address carbon reduction, adaptation, and air quality, which “… will be used to develop a series of issue area ‘Roadmaps’ in the coming months…”. The Roadmaps will outline the long-term climate mitigation/adaptation goals, targets, strategies and actions for Metro Vancouver. Five discussion papers have now been released:
Metro Vancouver is seeking feedback on them, and are asking responses to be sent to: Climate2050@metrovancouver.org. With regard to the recently released Nature and Ecosystems Discussion Paper, they are requesting the feedback by September 30, and have also developed a questionnaire. There are several proposals in the Discussion Paper, including:
- Increasing the number of green roofs;
- Increasing the amount of protected areas, so it grows from 40% of the land base to 50%;;
- Municipal stormwater charges;
- Increasing “… the urban tree canopy to 40% …”;
UDI would also be interested in your feedback. If you have any comments or questions, please contact Cassandra McColman.
August 11, 2020
Metro 2040 Industrial & Employment Policy
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver has adopted a Regional Industrial Lands Strategy. UDI representatives met with Metro staff on July 23 to discuss Metro’s Industrial and Employment Policy for the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) review (also noted in previous newsletters). At the meeting, Metro staff outlined critical policy issues they are seeking to address:
- Increasing amount of commercial uses on Industrial lands;
- Responding to the changing nature of industry;
- Displacement of industrial users on Mixed Employment lands;
- Pressure for mixed use close to rail rapid transit stations;
- Lack of industrial land supply;
- Reconsidering the role of Employment lands; and
- Consideration of emerging climate change issues.
They requested feedback on several potential proposals, including:
- Strengthening policies to protect industrial lands such as having a stricter definition of industrial uses in both regional and municipal policies;
- Having a higher voting threshold to remove industrial land from the RGS land use designations and having criteria for land use designation amendments;
- Creating a trade-oriented lands designation or overlay in the RGS;
- Offering more flexibility for some industrial lands near rapid transit stations (e.g. within 200 metres of them);
- Introducing special policy considerations/criteria for lands located in Urban Centres, Frequent Transit Development Areas or close to rapid transit;
- Supporting mixed uses and densification near rapid transit while protecting the industrial base;
- Policies to encourage industrial densification;
- Re-designating some mixed employment lands to Industrial or General Urban designations;
- Protecting industrial uses on mixed employment lands; and
- Allowing pre-existing commercial uses on industrial lands in mixed employment areas, but not allowing an expansion of commercial uses on those sites.
Please see the background material and slides from the July 23 meeting and the meeting agenda/reference package. If you have any questions/comments regarding the proposals, please contact Marissa Chan-Kent at 604.661.3033.
July 14, 2020
Metro Vancouver Regional Industrial Lands Strategy (RILS)
As noted in previous newsletters, UDI has been participating on the Metro Vancouver Regional District Industrial Lands Strategy Task Force, which has been developing the RILS. UDI has also been attended several consultation sessions and provided a written response to Metro Vancouver staff on the draft RILS.
UDI and other stakeholders (including local governments) raised serious concerns about the concept of inviting the provincial government to institute an Industrial land Reserve (ILR) that would be similar to the Agricultural Land Reserve. At the request of the Task Force, it was not included as a recommendation in the Final Report. However, on July 3 when the Metro Board passed the RILS (starting on page 28 of the link), they also passed another resolution: “That staff be directed to continue to explore the feasibility of an Industrial Land Reserve, and other potential policy measures and initiatives, and report back the findings to a future Board meeting.” UDI will be meeting with Metro staff on July 23 (see below) and will be raising the issue with them as well as writing Metro regarding our concerns with the ILR.
There are ten priority actions in the RILS (for a summary please see pages 38 to 41 of the Metro Vancouver Board Report):
- Define trade enabling lands;
- Undertake a Regional Land Use Assessment;
- Strengthen Regional policy;
- Seek greater consistency regarding how industrial is defined in local bylaws through the RGS;
- Facilitate densification/intensification;
- Develop strategies to bring more vacant and underdeveloped sites online;
- Improve transportation system of goods movement;
- Coordinate economic development regionally;
- Improve data/monitoring; and
- Coordinate with other regions.
On July 23, UDI will be meeting with Metro Vancouver regarding the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Policy Review of Industrial and Mixed Employment Lands. This is part of the Metro 2050 – RGS Update that has also been noted in previous newsletters.
Metro Vancouver 2040 Update
On June 17, Metro Vancouver’s Regional Planning team hosted a webinar on the progress to-date in updating Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future, the region’s collective vision for managing growth in the long-term. Presenters introduced a variety of topics, including changes to regional population, jobs, housing, transportation, industry, green spaces, and agriculture. The presentation was followed by a question and answer period. All feedback will be considered in the update to the regional growth strategy, Metro 2050, which is scheduled for completion in 2022. Read more about the initiative and how to give your feedback.
Further input on Metro 2050 can be submitted through a short feedback form or by email to the project team directly at RegionalPlanning@metrovancouver.org.
June 30, 2020
Metro Vancouver Climate 2050
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver is developing a long-term strategy to guide the Region to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and become more resilient for the next three decades – Climate 2050. They are writing ten discussion papers that will address carbon reduction, adaptation, and air quality, which “… will be used to develop a series of issue area ‘Roadmap’ in the coming months…”. The Roadmaps will outline the long-term climate mitigation/adaptation goals, targets, strategies and actions for Metro Vancouver. Five discussion papers have now been released:
Metro Vancouver is seeking feedback on them, and are asking responses to be sent to: Climate2050@metrovancouver.org. UDI would also be interested in your feedback. If you have any comments or questions, please contact Cassandra McColman at 604-661-3032.
Food Flows in Metro Vancouver
The recently completed Food Flows in Metro Vancouver study describes the food commodities that are transported across the region’s borders (including international, interprovincial and within B.C.). Offshore exports of cereals and oil seeds by the Port of Vancouver account for the greatest volume in the food flows (see diagram).
Metro Vancouver is a food distribution hub for the province with approximately 78% of the total B.C. food supply crossing regional boundaries. It was estimated that 40% percent of the provincial food supply is from international imports while 35% is sourced from within B.C. In Metro Vancouver, only 14% of the region’s food supply is sourced locally. The Study also revealed that we are secure in the supply managed commodities (dairy, poultry and eggs) but are very dependent on the U.S.A. for fruits and vegetables.
Next steps include sharing the results with other agencies and organizations so the data can be used to inform other work related to food distribution, regional planning, goods movement, emergency management and strengthening the regional food system
June 16, 2020
TransLink Land Value Capture Consultation
UDI participated in a TransLink consultation on Land Value Capture by Coriolis. On May 28, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation received the Report, which had been revised based on comments by stakeholders such as those submitted by UDI in our February 14, 2020 letter. In their report, Coriolis recommends TransLink:
- Explore a transit benefitting area tax, which is allowed under the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act.
- “Explore the idea of sharing CAC and density bonus revenues in locations that are transit-served and are designated for significant increases in density based on transit investment;” and
- Develop strategic plans for earning revenues from the acquisition/disposition of development sites and “… participating in urban development projects …”.
In their Memo to the Mayors’ Council at the beginning of the Coriolis Report, staff note that “The potential for any of the Land Value Capture mechanisms to be implemented as a part of TransLink’s funding framework will require additional discussion based on the economic conditions of the region during the re-building phase following the pandemic.” They also indicate that TransLink is also evaluating a variable-rate Development Cost Charge.
June 2, 2020
New resource to support Housing Agreements for affordable housing
With support from BC Housing, Metro Vancouver has developed a resource guide to support local governments as they develop Housing Agreements to secure affordable and special needs housing with a range of property owners. Local governments often rely on Housing Agreements to address a community’s housing policy objectives – such as increasing the supply of affordable housing, facilitating the supply of special needs housing, or preserving or protecting housing over the long term.
Typical housing types subject to a Housing Agreement are:
- Affordable Homeownership
- Secured Rental Housing
- Rental Units in a Strata / Mixed Tenure Housing
- Non-Market Housing
- Special Needs Housing
- Temporary Modular Housing
The report What Works – Securing Affordable and Special Needs Housing through Housing Agreements is posted to metrovancouver.org. For information, contact Jessica Hayes Metro Vancouver Housing Planner at 604-432-6200.
May 5, 2020
Metro Vancouver – Regional Industrial Lands Strategy (RILS)
The draft RILS Final Report was reviewed by Metro’s Industrial Lands Strategy Task Force at their May 1 meeting. The Task Force asked for several clarifications and referred the RILS back to staff, and it will be brought back for approval at their July meeting. If supported, it will then go the Metro Board for final approval. If that occurs, there will be ten priority actions that Metro will begin implementing through new studies, consultations and the Metro 2050 Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) Review.
Metro is concerned that if nothing is done, the Region will begin running out of new vacant sites for industry between 2035 and 2045 because of the land constraints in the Lower Mainland. Before this occurs, industrial land prices and lease rates will continue increase as the industrial vacancy rate continues to shrink. They are also concerned that builders, businesses and municipalities will begin looking to the Agricultural Land Reserve as a solution.
UDI has participated on the Task Force, in several Metro consultations and met with Metro staff regarding the draft RILS. Our response to the RILS is included in the Report to the Task Force (see page 104). Metro staff recognize that stakeholders such as UDI and some municipalities have real concerns about a few of the 35 proposed actions, including an Industrial Land Reserve and restricting stratification on trade enabling industrial lands. As such, Metro will focus on ten priority actions over the next few years (see below).
- Define trade-oriented lands (2020) – These would generally be large sites near transportation infrastructure, which governments may seek to develop policies in the future to protect.
- Undertake a regional land use assessment (2021) – proactively, in collaboration with Metro’s municipalities, “… identify the ‘best’ locations for different types of land uses based on a set of criteria.”
- Strengthen regional policy (2022) – explore ways to further protect industrial lands through policies “… such as voting thresholds to amend regional Industrial land use designations, as part of the update of the regional growth strategy.”
- Seek greater consistency in local government zoning definitions and permitted uses (2022) – “stricter definition consistency of permitted industrial uses on industrial lands through municipal plans and bylaws, supported by guidelines and best practices.”
- Facilitate the intensification / densification of industrial forms where possible (2020) – Encourage “… multi level industrial buildings or other development forms, with either providing incentives or removing regulatory barriers like zoning height and density limits …”.
- Prepare bring-to-market strategies for vacant or under-development industrial lands (2022) – “proactively address issues preventing the development of vacant or under-utilized industrial lands, which may have unique site challenges, such as servicing limitations, soil qualities, and ownership assembly.”
- Ensure transportation connectivity (ongoing) – “that serves industrial areas for both the movement of goods and workers, through coordinated investment in the transportation network, implementation of the regional goods movement strategy, enhanced regional truck route network, efficient container drayage, and transit for industrial workers.”
- Coordinate strategies for economic growth and investment (2022) – “profile the importance of industrial lands for the economy, and link with municipal economic development objectives and the Metro Vancouver Regional Economic Prosperity Service, to attract investment to the region.”
- Improve data and monitoring (2020 + 2021) – “… update the Metro Vancouver Regional Industrial Lands Inventory to have a better understanding of the current land uses and supply, and conduct a survey of industrial businesses to better understand their employment needs.”
- Develop a framework for coordination (2021) – “… for cross-boundary economic and land use planning matters, work with the neighbouring regional district of Fraser Valley and Squamish-Lillooet as well as the Province, to advance further linkages through coordinated infrastructure investments, land use planning, and economic development initiatives.”
UDI will continue to keep members informed about the Regional Industrial Lands Strategy and the Metro 2050 RGS Review as both of these critical initiatives move forward.
April 7, 2020
Metro Vancouver Updates
Input needed: Metro 2050 – Regional Growth Strategy Update
Metro Vancouver is updating Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping our Future, the regional growth strategy. The updated strategy will be called Metro 2050 and will extend growth projections to the year 2050, align with Transport 2050, incorporate both a climate and social equity lens, and update the strategy’s policy actions.
To help shape the future of the region, all stakeholders, agencies, partners and residents are encouraged to complete a Comment Form on the Metro 2050 website.
Please click here to view the Metro 2050 comment form.
Additionally, following the Metro 2050 Dialogue series, which was held earlier this year, Metro Vancouver has made all of the presentations available for review.
New GHG Target Established
On February 28, 2020, the Metro Vancouver Board amended its Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future Regional Growth Strategy to include updated Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets, so they align with their Climate 2050 Strategic Framework and with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. Metro Vancouver is committed to making the Region carbon neutral by 2050. They have established an interim 2030 target of reducing GHG emissions by 45% (from 2010 levels).
Metro 2040 Urban Centre and Frequent Transit Development Area (FTDA) Policy Review:
As noted in previous newsletters, Metro Vancouver is developing a new Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) – Metro 2050 – which is an update of the Metro 2040 RGS, noted above. As part of this work, Metro staff have recently completed a Metro 2040 Urban Centre and FTDA Policy Review. Urban Centres and FTDAs are the areas that are the focus of growth in the Region because of their proximity to transit. The Review includes “Five recommendations that have been brought forward for consideration in the development of Metro 2050.” They are:
- Update Centre and Frequent Transit Development Areas typologies by creating additional subtypes to further differentiate the Centres and FTDAs;
- Update and refine regional targets – 2006-2051 to include sub-regional or municipal growth targets as well as adding new metrics such as jobs+people/hectare, rental housing unit growth, and intersection density;
- Introduce requirements / criteria for consideration of Urban Centre or FTDA reclassification that Metro Vancouver would use to review applications and approve changes (e.g. not allowing Centres or FTDAs in flood hazard areas and mandating that they be close to transit);
- Update Urban Centre and FTDA policies to include issues such as:
- “… Limiting the proportion of the area within an Urban Centre or FTDA designated for single detached housing and highway-oriented commercial forms of development;”
- Identifying lands for new affordable housing;
- Buffers and mitigation strategies for air quality, noise and vibrations;
- Additional risk management strategies for flooding and sea-level rise;
- Green infrastructure;
- Climate adaptation and resiliency;
- Additional child care spaces;
- Managing the supply of private vehicle parking;
- Improving bike parking standards
- Developing tenant protection and relocation policies;
- Establishing dwelling and employment growth targets; and
- Potentially mandating that “A parcel of land equivalent to (minimum) one quarter of the area to be identified as an Urban Centre that was previously designated General Urban is redesignated to Conservation & Recreation, Industrial, or Agricultural.”
- Integrate Frequent Transit Corridor Network Geography (FTCN), which would be introducing “… a new geography into the regional growth framework…,” and would include areas near SkyTrain stations, RapidBus stops/corridors, and the Frequent Transit Network (but excluding areas such as agricultural, environmental, industrial, rural, parks, and hazard lands). The FTCN would be used to determine future FTDAs.
There is still more work and analysis that needs to occur before these policies are adopted in Metro 2050. Metro Vancouver is now seeking comments from stakeholders through its Metro 2050 Comment Form. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Cassandra McColman at 604.661.3032.
February 11, 2020
Dialogue Series – Metro 2050: Planning Now for Future Generations – February 2020
Metro Vancouver is updating Metro 2040: Shaping our Future, the regional growth strategy. Metro 2040 is the regional federation’s collective plan for managing growth in the region – including containing and focusing growth, and protecting important lands like greenspaces and employment lands. This update to the regional growth strategy, referred to as Metro 2050, will make it more effective and resilient to change. It will also do more to consider social equity and climate change in our communities, the impacts of growth policies, and how to better protect the places we care about.
Wednesday February 12 – Planning for healthy, complete communities and greenspaces.
Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, 138 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver
Time: Noon –2:00 p.m. (lunch served 11:30 a.m. – noon)
- James Stiver, Division Manager, Growth Management and Transportation, Metro Vancouver
- Laurie Bates-Frymel, Senior Planner (Environment), Regional Planning Services, Metro Vancouver
Thursday February 20 – Planning for affordable housing in transit corridors.
Segal Building, SFU, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver
Time: 7:30 – 9:00 a.m. (continental breakfast available at 7:00 a.m.)
- Heather McNell, General Manager, Regional Planning and Housing Services, Metro Vancouver
- Susan Haid, Deputy Director of Planning – Long Range and Strategic Planning, City of Vancouver
- Lee-Ann Garnett, Assistant Director, Long Range Planning, City of Burnaby
Tuesday February 25 – Planning to integrate growth, land use and transportation.
Surrey City Hall, 13450 104 Ave, Surrey
Time: Noon–2:00 p.m. (lunch served 11:30 a.m. – noon)
- Heather McNell, General Manager, Regional Planning and Housing Services, Metro Vancouver
- Patrick Klassen, Community Planning Manager, City of Surrey
Thursday February 27 – Planning for employment growth and transportation.
Executive Plaza Hotel Metro Vancouver, 405 North Rd, Coquitlam
Time: Noon–2:00 p.m. (lunch served 11:30 a.m. – noon)
- Erin Rennie, Senior Planner, Regional Planning Services, Metro Vancouver
- Andrew Merrill, Director, Development Services, City of Coquitlam
January 14, 2020
Regional Transportation Development Charges
In effect January 15, 2020
TransLink’s Regional Transportation Development Cost Charges (DCCs) came into effect in 2019 and will be applied and collected by municipalities on developments in TransLink’s Transportation Service Region starting January 15, 2020.
The DCC will assist in paying for eligible projects in the Mayors’ 10-Year Vision transit expansion plan. With more than one million people moving to Metro Vancouver in the next 30 years, delivering the 10-Year Vision is critical for keeping the region moving and livable.
Important information on the rate types and timing of collection is available on TransLink’s website.
For more information, please contact Jagdip Mann, Senior Advisor, Revenue Contracts and Fare Infraction at 778.375.6937 or email@example.com.
Metro Vancouver Climate 2050 and Clean Air Plan
Metro Vancouver has released three discussion papers to support its Climate 2050 and Clean Air Plan initiatives. They are on Transportation, Buildings, and Industry. The papers include information, targets and strategies for both reducing emissions and climate adaptation measures.
Last year, Metro Vancouver developed a Climate 2050 Strategic Framework for the Region. Under the Strategy, Metro is committed to “Creating a carbon neutral region by 2050…”. To do so, they will be developing Roadmaps (strategies and actions) for ten issue areas:
Metro Vancouver is also developing a new Clean Air Plan to support Climate 2050 that will be the Region’s “… fourth air quality and greenhouse management plan,” which will be focused on seven issues:
- Industry and Commerce;
- Nature and Ecosystems; and
- Measurement, Monitoring and Regulation.
In the Discussion Paper on Buildings. Metro is considering a target of having zero emissions from heating and cooling for all buildings by 2050. By 2025, they are considering having target that all new replacement heating and hot water systems be zero emissions. The strategies they are reviewing include:
- Electrifying Buildings to achieve the emission reductions;
- Restricting residential wood burning; and
- Using benchmarking and performance requirements to reduce emissions in existing buildings.
In the Transportation Discussion Paper, Metro is considering road pricing and incentives for zero emission vehicles.
UDI will be participating in a Regional Forum regarding the discussion papers on January 21, 2020. If you have any questions, please contact Cassandra McColman at 604.661.3032.
December 23, 2019
Metro Vancouver Updates
Walkability/Parks: Dr. Larry Frank of the University of British Columbia’s (UBC’s) Health and Community Design Lab has been conducting the Where Matters: Health and Economic Impacts of Where We Live study for Metro Vancouver “… to quantify the health and economic benefits of walkable communities and access to parks.” The study demonstrates “… a clear association between the most walkable communities in Metro Vancouver and lower levels of chronic diseases.” A summary of the findings of the Study can be found in Metro’s staff Report to their Board. Dr. Frank has also created a Walkability Index for Metro’s 2040 Regional Growth Strategy (RGS) monitoring program, which includes maps.
Metro 2050: The last newsletter included an update on TransLink’s Transport 2050 Strategy. At the same time, Metro Vancouver is moving forward with its update of the RGS. Metro has released a feedback form. Early next year, they will be hosting a Metro Community Dialogue Series, and by mid-2020 an Online Open House will be launched.
Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH): As noted in previous newsletters, UDI has been participating in a Metro Vancouver TOAH Study with several other stakeholders and government agencies “… to better understand the opportunities and constraints for building new affordable rental housing in transit-oriented locations across the region.” This work has now received a national Gold Roof Award for Housing Research Excellence from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
Child Care: Metro Vancouver has recently released a Survey of Licensed Child Care Spaces and Policies in Metro Vancouver. The Survey includes a summary of the policies adopted by local governments to increase the number of child care spaces in their communities, including identifying child care facilities as a community amenity in the development approvals process (see Appendix B).”
December 9, 2019
UPDATED: Transport 2050
On December 4, TransLink released the Phase One Report for its Transport 2050, which is the “… strategy for transportation in Metro Vancouver for the next 30 years.” It is occurring at the same time Metro Vancouver is updating its Regional Growth Strategy. For Phase 1, TransLink focused on values and ideas to develop a vision. Over 4,000 ideas were generated from 31,000 surveys, and respondents:
- highly valued parks and natural areas;
- Wanted convenient neighbourhoods;
- Wanted to arrive at their destinations on time;
- Made transit expansion/improvement a top priority;
- Wanted an efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly transportation system; and
- Were concerned about housing affordability; and
- Were concerned about congestion.
Phase 2 (Consider ideas and trade-offs) begins in Spring 2020, and a draft Regional Transportation Strategy will be developed in Phase 3 (Fall 2020). UDI will keep members updated on this critical infrastructure plan for our Region on an ongoing basis.
November 25, 2019
Metro Vancouver Industrial Lands Strategy
Metro Vancouver through an Industrial Lands Strategy Taskforce, several studies and stakeholder meetings has been developing a Regional Industrial Lands Strategy. Metro Vancouver, the Port and some stakeholders are concerned with:
- The region’s low industrial vacancy rate (1.4%);
- Rising industrial land costs (which have doubled in the last five years);
- Increasing lease rates (that have gone from an average of $8 per net square foot per year in late 2014 to $12 in early 2019);
- The loss of industrial land as just over 2,000 Ha of the region’s total of 11,331 Ha of industrial land are vacant and undeveloped; and
- The current supply of industrial lands running out between 2035 and 2045 under current absorption trends.
A draft Regional Industrial Lands Strategy was released for the November 21 Industrial Lands Strategy Taskforce. The report includes four “Big Moves”:
- Protect Remaining Industrial Lands;
- Intensify and Optimize Industrial Lands;
- Bring the Existing Land Supply to Market and Address Site Issues; and
- Ensure a Coordinated Approach.
Under the Big Moves there are 35 recommendations – some of which will have significant impacts on industrial land owners. They include:
- Conducting a Regional Land Use Assessment;
- Strengthening Metro’s Industrial Land Policy by:
- Increasing the voting threshold for changing the designations of Industrial/Mixed Employment sites to General Urban;
- Establishing a “no net loss of land”, so any industrial land that is removed would have to be offset by land swaps;
- Having clearer and consistent definitions of and permitted uses for industrial lands; and
- Potentially allowing residential in mixed employment areas near rapid transit and if existing industrial spaces are preserved or expanded;
- Having more zoning consistency for industrial lands in all Metro municipalities, which would limit what uses would be allowed in industrial areas (although new industrial uses may be allowed as well);
- Protecting Trade Enabling Industrial Land (large parcels near transportation infrastructure) through:
- An Industrial Land Reserve;
- Changes in the upcoming updated Regional Growth Strategy;
- Develop Trade Enabling Zoning that municipalities could utilize in key areas; and/or
- Seek legislative power from the Province to restrict the stratification of Trade Enabling Lands (i.e. similar to the recent Residential Rental Tenure Zoning power);
- Encouraging the intensification of industrial lands (e.g. additional floors) through more flexible zoning and incentives;
- Providing greater clarity on Agri-Industrial uses in the Agricultural Land Reserve;
- Ensuring consideration of Industrial Lands and Assets in a Regional Flood Management Strategy;
- Reviewing the impact of Tax Assessment on Existing Industrial Uses;
- Managing conflict through buffering policies;
- Seeking Provincial approval to allow municipalities to warn of nuisance impacts on land title;
- Adopting the Railway Association of Canada and Federation of Canadian Municipalities Guidelines for New Development in Proximity to Railway Operations;
- Developing Local Bring-To-Market Strategies for Vacant Industrial Lands;
- Improving transportation connections between Industrial Areas;
- Improving data sharing; and
- Better coordinating with neighbouring regions in Southwestern British Columbia.
UDI will be participating in a Metro Vancouver workshop on the draft Strategy on December 10, and will be organizing a meeting for the development industry with Metro Vancouver in January.
October 29, 2019
Translink – Transport 2050
As noted in previous newsletters, UDI has been participating in TransLink’s new Regional Transportation Strategy – Transport 2050. The Phase 1 of the consultation process, “Share values and ideas, develop vision” has concluded. UDI wrote the attached letter to TransLink regarding:
- The need to link land use decisions with transportation investments; and
- The need to involve the building industry in any futzure discussions about land value capture or increasing the TransLink DCC.
Phase 2, “Consider ideas and trade-offs”, begins in Spring 2020. It is expected that a draft Regional Transportation Strategy will be released a year from now. UDI will keep members informed regarding this important regional planning and infrastructure investment initiative.
Metro Vancouver – Regional Growth Strategy
At the same time TransLink is developing its Transport 2050 plan, Metro Vancouver is embarking on its Regional Growth Strategy update. According to Metro, “The update is being undertaken to extend the regional growth strategy to the year 2050, to consider significant drivers of change, to integrate with Transport 2050 (TransLink’s new Regional Transportation Strategy), and to implement policy improvements in a number of areas.” UDI has already participated in several Metro Vancouver events during the first phase of the process, “Review and Setting Direction”, which will continue into mid-2020. The Plan Development phase will begin then and last until mid-2021. It is anticipated that the new RGS will not be approved until 2022. Again, UDI will continue to participate in and update members about this critical regional planning initiative.
August 6, 2019
Mayors’ Council Advances Surrey Skytrain Extension
On July 25, the Mayors’ Council voted to proceed with the next step towards extending the Expo Line along Fraser Highway through Surrey and to the Langley City and Township. TransLink Staff will now proceed with preparing the detailed business case which is expected to be complete in early 2020, and if approved, construction on the extension could begin in early 2022. However, according to updated TransLink estimates, the current approved budget will only get the new trains as far as 166th Street in Fleetwood, including seven KMs of track and four stations for a cost of $1.63 billion. The proposed extension past 166th Street is unfunded and will require further financial contributions from regional and senior levels of governments.
June 24, 2019
Recycling and composting in the Fraser Valley
The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) is implementing new sorting requirements for recyclables and compostables. The new regional requirements will apply to all sectors across the region. Following the public consultation coordinated by the FVRD and municipalities, the proposed bylaw was approved in the Fall 2018.
Bylaw 1495, please see: https://www.fvrd.ca/assets/Government/Documents/Bylaws/Other/Bylaw%20No.%201495,%202018%20Regional%20Solid%20Waste%20Removal%20Regulations.PDF
Public information and resource materials (i.e., guides for various sectors, sample signage, tenant letters, etc…) in support of the requirements are under the regional “Waste Wise” initiative and posted here: https://bewastewise.com .
Prepare to #sortitout
The new FVRD requirements come into effect on April 1, 2020 and they will not change diversion programs already in place. The new bylaw is meant to increase the amount of material diverted from the landfill since it will apply to everyone–residents of single and multifamily buildings, businesses and institutions. All sectors (except for those exempt under the regional solid waste management plan) will be required to separate recyclable and compostable materials from the garbage stream.
The FVRD is working closely with waste management service providers in the region, and providing them with resources to inform customers about setting up sorting systems that will ensure compliance on or before Spring 2020. Commercial and institutional customers can speak with their hauler about the services available in support of the requirements.
Additionally, the Recycling Hotline of BC (1-800-REC-YCLE) is ready to answer questions about the new FVRD sorting requirements.
May 13, 2019
Transport 2050 Plan Launched
TransLink has launched its Transport 2050 engagement plan to shape a new long-range strategy to guide their work over the next three decades. They are gathering input through an online survey which is now available at Transport2050.ca.
Lower Mainland Local Government Association (LMLGA) Conference
On May 8 – May 10, Mayors and Councillors from the lower mainland region met in Harrison for the annual LMLGA conference and AGM. The following Resolutions were endorsed for the Union of British Columbia Municipalities 2019 AGM consideration – See here for the Annual Report and full text of resolutions and Comments section:
R25 Extension of Vacancy Taxation Authority to Local Government
Whereas the Province of British Columbia responded to a housing affordability crisis in 2016 with legislation empowering the City of Vancouver to introduce a surtax on vacant residential properties, resulting in $38 million in revenues for that community in 2018 and creating a strong disincentive to leaving properties vacant;
And whereas communities across British Columbia face housing affordability pressures, while a portion of the housing supply in all communities remains vacant;
Therefore be it resolved that the UBCM call on the Province of British Columbia to extend the authority to introduce a surtax on vacant residential properties to local governments across British Columbia, providing communities with the discretion to decide whether to introduce an additional tax to discourage vacant and derelict buildings, and encourage the occupancy, maintenance, and improvement of buildings to address housing affordability and public safety.
R26 Development Cost Charges Legislation
Whereas the Local Government Act currently restricts the collection of Development Cost Charges to areas of sewage, water, drainage, roads and park land;
And whereas new development creates capital cost burdens on municipalities in other areas, such as, but not limited to, emergency services, artificial sports fields, and recreation and cultural facilities:
Therefore be it resolved that that LMLGA direct UBCM to lobby the provincial government to conduct a holistic review of the Development Cost Charges legislation and update the Best Practices Guide to address the outdated provision regarding eligible costs for Development Cost Charges.
R28 Broaden the Allowable Uses of Parkland Development Cost Changes
Whereas the BC government has determined that Parkland Development Cost Charges (“DCCs”) cannot be used to fund sport‐related park infrastructure such as synthetic turf fields, tennis or basketball courts, water spray parks, swimming pools and arenas;
And whereas municipalities can use Parkland DCCs to provide fencing, landscaping, drainage and irrigation, trails, rest‐rooms, changing rooms and playground and playing field equipment and there is tangible evidence that new development directly impacts the demand for sport‐related park infrastructure through increased attendance at municipal recreation facilities and increased demand for playing time on municipal sports fields:
Therefore be it resolved that the BC government be requested to approve an amendment to Section 935(3) (b)(ii) of the Local Government Act to include sport‐related park infrastructure as an applicable Parkland DCC capital cost.
R30 Varied Tax Rate for Residential Class
Whereas the Province of British Columbia through the BC Assessment Act–Prescribed Classes of Property Regulation B.C. Reg. 438/81 specifies that there is one assessment class for all types of residential properties and the Community Charter outlines that a municipal bylaw to establish the property value taxes each year under section 197(3) specifies there is a single rate for each property class;
And whereas the assessed value of multi‐family housing and single family housing appreciates at vastly different rates, leading to large fluctuations and tax rates swings year‐to‐year between these housing types:
Therefore be it resolved that the Province of British Columbia amend the BC Assessment Act and the Community Charter to allow the residential class to be split into two distinct residential classes so that a different rate may be applied to each type of residential property to allow for better tax planning, and a more consistent application of property tax changes, for all residents no matter their housing type.
April 1, 2019
Metro Vancouver Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) Study
UDI has been working with Metro Vancouver and several other partners, including the BC Non-Profit Housing Association, BC Housing, TransLink, Vancity, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation on a TOAH Study. Phase 2 of the work will be going to the April 5 Regional Planning Committee (see section 5.2).
Two issues were reviewed in this phase. The first is the potential of adopting the TOAH Fund model in Metro Vancouver. TOAH Funds have been used in several U.S. communities. They are blends of different sources of private, charitable foundation and public sector capital that are used to offer attractive loan products to affordable housing projects in transit-oriented locations.
The second report going to Regional Planning Committee is “Reducing the Barrier of High Land Cost: Strategies for Facilitating More Affordable Rental Housing Construction in Metro Vancouver” by Coriolis and Wollenberg Munro Consulting Inc. The efficacy of several planning tools to encourage TOAH projects are examined in the Report, including:
- Using non-profit and public sector lands;
- Community Amenity Contributions and Density Bonusing;
- Inclusionary Zoning; and
- Using the recently approved rental residential zoning tool available to municipalities.
The Report includes several important conclusions:
- “While efforts to maintain or replace existing affordable rental housing stock are an important element of a comprehensive regional affordable rental housing strategy … Without increased supply, there will not be enough rental housing to meet projected household growth, there will continue to be very low vacancy, and there will continue to be upward pressure on rent.”
- “For the foreseeable future, non-profit organizations and private developers will continue to provide a large share of total new rental housing construction in Metro Vancouver. There is not enough government funding being put into rental construction to meet the entire need for new market and affordable rental units.” The consultant notes, “… land and construction for all the rental housing needed in this region will require about $2.5 billion per year. Again, depending on how rents are set, this could be recovered over the long term but it still requires massive borrowing or outlay of cash.”
- There is a need to better utilize non-profit and public sector land;
- There is a need for “Strategic land acquisition by local governments and by TransLink when land is being acquired for transit infrastructure.”
- “Making land (or more often density) available at no cost is a crucial element in achieving more rental housing, especially affordable rental. This means increasing allowable densities and, when the density is used for rental, not requiring CACs in most cases.”
- “… Because affordable rental is not financially viable on its own in most cases, there is a need for incentives. One of the best available incentives in this region is to make new residential strata density (and in some areas market rental density) available in exchange for affordable rental housing.”
- The “… use of density bonusing and rezonings to achieve affordable housing via increased density can be expanded if local governments adopt area plans to designate lands for redevelopment, reduce uncertainty, and accelerate approvals to reduce cost. The approvals tap must be opened much wider than it currently is in most communities in Metro Vancouver in order for new rental unit construction to keep pace with projected requirements based on growth in the number of households.”
- “Residential rental tenure zoning on its own will not result in a significant amount of new rental housing construction, unless combined with sufficient increases in density to enable rental projects to outcompete existing uses for sites. However, there will be many cases where even large increases in density will not make rental only projects financially viable, either because the necessary density can only be achieved in concrete (which is too expensive) or because the necessary density is too high be to acceptable.”
- “Residential rental tenure zoning can prevent or postpone the demolition of older rental stock, by eliminating strata development as a potential use, but this does not contribute to increased rental supply. Applying residential tenure zoning to private sites, without extra density or incentives, also creates market uncertainty, can reduce market interest in new rental construction, and can reduce investor interest in owning rental property.”
- “Inclusionary housing requirements that specify rents or household income limits cannot currently be implemented by zoning alone in BC. Imposing such requirements, in the absence of incentives including additional density, would not help create new rental supply because the reduced net operating income from lower rents will create an even greater financial challenge for the construction of new rental projects.”
- “The best available zoning approach for local governments in Metro Vancouver to facilitate an increase in the supply of rental housing has three integrated components: (a) create new density to accommodate affordable rental housing plus new density for strata (or in some cases market rental), (b) convert the value of the extra market density into affordable housing benefits (either affordable units or cash-in-lieu), and (c) use housing agreements to control rental tenure and rent rates.”
- “Local governments can help increase the supply of rental housing by reducing approvals risk and reducing approvals times. One way to reduce approvals risk and timing is to rezone land in advance, when a comprehensive planning process has identified appropriate locations for higher density, rather than requiring that rezoning proceed site by site.” The consultant also notes, “The non-profits generally find local government approval processes too long, too complex, and too costly. They also sometimes find that local government expectations regarding design, construction quality, and servicing costs make it challenging for projects because of the extra capital cost.”
- “While addressing the land availability challenge is crucial, government agencies should not ignore the importance of other ways to address the financial difficulty of providing new rental housing. Steps such as reducing construction cost (e.g. reduced DCCs, reduced parking), continuing to provide financing at below market rates, and providing technical assistance to non-profits are important.”
- “Local governments can also help increase the supply of new rental housing by taking care in setting design and construction requirements for affordable housing, with an eye to the cost implications of these requirements. Reduced construction cost reduces the breakeven rent that must be achieved in affordable rental projects.”
- “Where the affordable housing obligation for a project is relatively small, local governments should consider the option of having the units provided off site or in the form of cash-in-lieu funds pooled to create public sector or non-profit projects.”
- “There is broad consensus among private and non-profit housing developers that stand-alone, self-contained rental buildings (with all affordable rental or a mix of market and affordable rental under single ownership) work better than buildings that have mixed tenure (strata and rental) or mixed ownership (via air parcels).”
- “Goals for transit-oriented affordable rental should not focus only on rapid transit stations. These areas are generally planned for densities that require concrete construction, which is expensive. Frequent transit corridors, with good bus service and where the appropriate density can be achieved in wood frame construction, or the shoulder areas around rapid transit nodes can deliver more units for a given investment.”
- “Integrated planning for transit and land use in transit-oriented areas should plan for affordable housing from the beginning.”
March 18, 2019
Metro Vancouver Releases 2018 Regional Parking Study
TransLink and Metro Vancouver have funded a 2018 Regional Parking Study that went to Metro’s Regional Planning Committee on March 8, 2019. The Study is a follow-up on a similar Report that was completed in 2012. The findings in both studies are also consistent as well. Metro staff are suggesting that the information in the 2018 Study be used for municipal area planning, parking bylaw updates and rezoning/development reviews.
The 2018 research involved three surveys (conducted between October 2017 and January 2018):
- A Parking Facility Survey of parking supply and utilization in 73 apartment projects;
- A Street Parking Survey of parking supply/utilization near the selected apartment projects; and
- A Household Survey of the 1,500 households in the 73 apartment projects.
There were several findings from the research. As in 2012, apartment parking supply substantially exceeds actual use across Metro Vancouver for both strata and rental projects – although parking supply is decreasing in newer projects. Parking supply exceeds utilization by 42% in strata projects; in rental buildings, supply exceeds utilization by 35%; and in mixed tenure and mixed rental buildings, the number is 41%. Metro’s smallest units (0 bedrooms or units less than 600 sq. ft.) have the largest oversupply of parking. Parking supply and use is lower for buildings closer to frequent transit, and transit use is higher (especially for rental buildings) when parking use is lower.
In mixed-use neighbourhoods, the issue of street parking is complex. Although, the over utilization of street parking was not common, it did occur. When it did, “Nearby non-residential trip generators, such as parks, restaurants, and other commercial uses appear to be one factor.”
The Study includes information about bike parking facilities as well. Approximately one-third of bicycle-owning households across the region do not use secured bike parking facilities because of concerns about safety and convenience.
A link to the 2018 study can be found here.
Changes to DCC Waiver for Affordable Housing
Initially introduced in May 2018, Metro Vancouver has changed the conditions to qualify for a Development Cost Charge waiver on Affordable Housing Units. Beginning May 1, 2019 this waiver will only be available for not-for profit housing providers and will no longer apply to For Profit Affordable Rental Housing. For additional information on the existing exemption qualifications and updated Bylaws please visit Metro Vancouver’s webpage.
February 18, 2019
UDI Rental Housing Committee decries harmful use of Rental-Only Zoning
On February 13, the UDI Rental Housing Committee met to discuss the recent cases across of municipalities downzoning properties through the use of rental-tenure zoning, including New Westminster and potentially Port Moody. In New Westminster, Mayor and Council voted to rezone 6 active stratified-rental buildings into rental-only sites, prompting a devaluation of the properties. The move to downzone these properties through the use of rental-only zoning will likely result in a future decrease in housing options as builders pause in this uncertain climate.
Our members were supportive in principle of Bill 23, the Local Government Statutes (Residential Rental Tenure Zoning) Amendment Act when the Government introduced the legislation, as long as this new tool was used as an incentive to upzone property to stimulate the building of more rental homes. However, UDI continues to raise concerns about this new power being utilized heavy-handedly by local governments to arbitrarily downzone properties without compensation and due consideration. Unfortunately, up to this point, we are only aware of municipalities where this tool has been used to negatively impact properties.
UDI wants to hear from our members on the use of rental-only zoning. If you are concerns about the impact of this type of bylaw on your project in any municipality please contact Marissa Chan-Kent.
Mayors’ Council Endorses Skytrain as Preferred Technology to UBC
On Friday morning, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted in favour of proceeding with planning for the future SkyTrain from Arbutus to UBC. The decision was in line with the recommendation made by Translink staff, and the subsequent Vancouver City Council endorsement in late January. The decision to approve SkyTrain technology triggers a $3-million early planning process over the coming year that will lead to the start of a business case process in 2020.
November 26, 2018
Update on Implementation of Regional Transportation DCC
The Mayors’ Council and TransLink’s Board have adopted the Phase Two Investment Plan.
- The Plan includes the $29M/year (2020$) DCCs, as per the DCC framework, as a new funding source with collections starting on January 15, 2020.
- The 12-month in-stream protection is expected to be in effect when the DCC bylaws are adopted. TransLink has set the initial DCC rates from January 15, 2019 to January 14, 2020 to $0 to ensure any development applications not covered by the 12-month in-stream protection are not charged a DCC prior to January 15, 2020.
- The DCC rates effective January 15, 2020 will be imposed and collected on subdivision approvals or building permits, as applicable, starting that day for subdivision or building permit applications that were submitted in 2019 or that were not eligible for in-stream protection.
To support implementation, TransLink will soon be publishing all details on their website, and in the meantime, if you have any questions please contact Jag Mann at 778.375.6937.