TC article: "View Royal wants audit of province's new housing legislation"

November 10, 2023

TC: Article: View Royal wants audit of province’s new housing legislation - Victoria Times Colonist

“They’re creating legislation about restricting public engagement, without consulting the public,” said Tobias, noting that means residents will no longer be able to raise concerns or help guide development so it fits more smoothly into a neighbourhood.

“I don’t know what the rationale would be, although I would suspect they’re in a hurry.”

The legislation introduced last week requires municipalities to update zoning bylaws to permit multi-unit buildings on lots typically used for single-family detached homes. It would also do away with public hearings for rezoning applications for housing projects that align with official community plans."

“The provincial government isn’t talking to any municipality about all these housing changes – they’re informing us,” Tobias told the Times Colonist. “I’m curious as to why there’s been no provincial engagement and why no public engagement as well, because some of this legislation forbids municipalities conducting public hearings on some things that are in the [official community plan].”

In his letter to the Auditor General, also sent to the premier, leaders of the opposition parties, local MLAs and all mayors in the province, Tobias said the legislation’s implications, particularly concerning the absence of public and municipal engagement, “warrant a thorough investigation to ensure transparency, accountability, and alignment with governmental priorities.”

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said she understands the concern and has ensured the letter will be on her council’s next agenda.

“I feel that really this is coming fast and furious and I don’t feel that there’s an understanding of some of the implications with it,” she said of the provincial housing regulations.""

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