More small-scale, multi-unit homes coming to B.C., zoning barriers removed


Updated Nov. 1, 2023

Dean Murdock, mayor of Saanich –

“Single-family homes are largely out of reach for many people looking to buy or rent in Saanich. These proposed changes help create more housing choices that meet the needs of individuals and families in the community today, and in the future. This will allow people to put down roots in Saanich — where they can build a life in neighbourhoods that are close to schools, parks and shops and feel connected to their community.”

Vickey Brown, mayor of Cumberland –

“The new housing legislation is a significant step forward in addressing our housing challenges. By introducing small-scale, multi-unit housing options and rectifying outdated zoning rules, more diverse housing opportunities are created for our communities. Building density in a single-family zoning not only allows property owners to generate more income from their properties, it also provides additional housing, while keeping infrastructure costs down for local governments. We have had good success with most of these measures in our community thus far.

Marianne Alto, mayor of Victoria –

“The city welcomes the introduction of provincial standards setting a baseline for small-scale, multi-unit housing for people, particularly town homes, row homes and triplexes. Victoria has already established its own ambitious housing allowances, and I’m confident that this new legislation will complement and fortify local governments’ push to add more homes to our badly needed housing supply.”

Ken Sim, mayor of Vancouver –

“We have said getting homes built in Vancouver will take an all-hands-on-deck approach. That’s why we’re so excited to support the Province’s latest initiative to get more homes built for the people who need them. The City of Vancouver has already streamlined zoning across our city, while reducing permit approval timelines to unlock more housing in every corner of Vancouver, which is why this new legislation from the Province – focused on delivering more small-scale, multi-unit housing for individuals and families – is another step in the right direction.”

Neil Moody, CEO, Canadian Home Builders’ Association British Columbia (CHBA BC) –

“Today’s housing crisis can’t be solved by approving the thousands of homes we need with the same outdated zoning and approval processes. The legislation introduced today will make it easier and more predictable for CHBA BC home builders to work with local governments to speed up the approval process and increase the variety of housing choices in our growing neighbourhoods.”

Jens von Bergmann, Mountain Math –

“The Province is taking a big step with this new legislation. This opens up low density areas to more housing and normalizes more diverse types of housing to creating more vibrant and resilient communities. Through our analysis, we project this will create substantial net new homes over the next 10 years, enabling more housing options, and increasing the overall amount of housing people need to stay in their communities, form families more freely and generally improve housing outcomes.”

Amy Nugent, executive director, Urbanarium –

“It is clear that any solution to the housing crisis must include increasing supply. Existing single-family house areas must be part of the densifying strategy to increase supply. To have a density strategy for single-family zones that will move from policy to results on the ground will require simplifying regulations to improve permitting speed and reduce cost.”

Jake Fry, founder and principle, Smallworks –

“In our experience, building hundreds of infill homes, we’ve witnessed firsthand the need for diverse housing options, as well as the positive impact better options can have for families across the Province. This legislation is the type of bold move that will evolve our single-family neighbourhoods and make housing attainable for more British Columbians.”

Julian West, founder, Urban Thrive –

“Small builders and developers have long struggled to jump through all the municipal zoning hoops to build townhouses, houseplexes, and other kinds of multi-family housing, which we so desperately need. These changes finally provide a pathway that will see this type of housing built in a meaningful way.”

Duncan Wlodarczak, chair, Urban Land Institute British Columbia –

“B.C.’s urban areas face an acute housing shortage. These places would also benefit from allowing more people to live close to frequent transit, as well as urban amenities, thereby facilitating a lower-carbon lifestyle. Enabling secondary units and multi-plex housing as-of-right on existing lots will help British Columbians create more homes, faster, and thereby improve our communities.”

Nick Petrie, business development, Phase One Design –

“With my extensive professional experience across numerous projects in the industry, I support the proposed gentle density change. Having spoken to families regularly, the challenge of providing multi-generational living that could accommodate aging family members or provide private residences to their children is evident. Overall, I believe this will be a major improvement in everyone’s quality of life.”

Houssam Elokda, managing principal, Happy Cities –

“To solve the housing crisis, we need a provincewide effort to build more diverse housing options, both market and non-market. Legalizing multi-unit housing everywhere is an important first step toward creating healthy, walkable, connected and resilient communities. By building more homes near transit, we will make it easier and more affordable for people to access jobs and services — without needing to own a car.”

Kelly Reid, owner, HKR Builders – 

“I believe this proposed legislation is a positive step forward. This will help builders work through the local government process to get more homes of all types built. It should provide local governments a clear path forward to meet local housing needs.” 

Carolyn Whitzman, adjunct professor and expert advisor to Housing Assessment Resource Tools project, University of Ottawa –

“B.C. is at the forefront of provinces and territories when it comes to enabling and increasing housing supply for people. It’s exciting to see such forward-thinking action being taken, like transit-oriented zoning near frequent bus service, to build the right kinds of homes in the areas they are urgently needed.”

Lauren van den Berg, president and CEO, Mortgage Professionals Canada –

“We commend the work that Premier Eby and the B.C. government are doing to play a leadership role in addressing the housing crisis. This legislation is another important step to increase housing supply that, combined with a focus on affordability, will help more British Columbians achieve the dream of home ownership.”


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