VICTORIA – The Province of British Columbia is giving grants to 43 local governments to create more efficient development approval processes.
The province is using the Local Government Development Approvals Program to provide nearly $15 million for local government to implement best practices and “develop innovative ways to support non-profit housing organizations, developers and other stakeholders to build essential housing for people around the province as the economy recovers from the pandemic,” a government release stated.
“Local governments play a critical role in making sure the housing people need in their communities is built quickly and meets local needs. These grants will help them do critical work to modernize development permitting and approvals by removing barriers and streamlining processes. Together, the province, local governments, housing providers and builders can find solutions that support more affordable housing for everyone in B.C.,” said provincial Minister of Municipal Affairs Josie Osborne in a statement.
The program was open to all municipalities, regional districts and the Islands Trust, and is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities on behalf of the B.C. government.
“Local governments are creating new ways to streamline development approval processes and accelerate the delivery of new homes to communities. This program provides a welcome investment to implement these changes and will help establish a new range of best practices in B.C.,” Union of BC Municipalities president Brian Frankel said.
Projects implementing the grants highlighted by the government release include a City of North Vancouver plan examining all components of the development approvals process including building a one-stop client centre, completing a review of the permitting process, and implementing a form-based zoning bylaw focused on quality design, rather than complex regulation.
“People always tell me that cities can improve the permit process and I agree. That’s why I’m so pleased that the city will be receiving these funds to modernize our services. With this grant in hand, the city will make our regulations simpler and more effective, reduce processing times and deliver a wider range of services through our new online portal,” North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan stated.
The District of Summerland is implementing new software to improve tracking, enable electronic applications, and increase the efficiency of multiple development application processes and the City of Nanaimo is establishing an online application portal and dashboard.
Further information about the development approvals application process is available here.