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Time for innovation to boost housing supply

There has much discussion on housing affordability on the Island, and recently Victoria city council attempted to persuade the province to implement a foreign-buyers tax to ease upward pressure on prices.

There has much discussion on housing affordability on the Island, and recently Victoria city council attempted to persuade the province to implement a foreign-buyers tax to ease upward pressure on prices.

The goal is laudable, and it did have an impact in Greater Vancouver. However, prices are still unreasonable and now climbing in that market, and I suggest across the majority of the jurisdictions on the Island, particularly the southern area. Why not look to some other innovative solutions and measures to help with holding the line on prices: Increase the supply?

A request or directive from local councils to staff in planning departments to canvass constituents with excess land to offer a parcel for subdivision might be welcomed — an opportunity to bypass the red tape and fees to approval for rezoning. There are properties ready for subdivision or development, and local governments should be sourcing them to help increase the supply.

Casey Edge, president of the Victoria Residential Builders Association, recently stated: “We’ve seen development being held in abeyance by anti-development sentiment and councils who are skittish, frankly, at enforcing their own community plans.”

It’s time for another way of thinking when it comes to housing supply and development — be proactive and part of the solution.

Rishi Sharma

Saanich