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Central Okanagan regional district no longer concerned with rural building boom – Okanagan |


A report highlighting bureaucratic concerns with incoming provincial housing mandates has been withdrawn from the Regional District of Central Okanagan agenda.

The now withdrawn report from regional district staff explained to board members that recent changes to provincial legislation under Bill 44, the Housing Statutes Amendment Act, required residential lots in the RDCO electoral areas to permit a secondary suite and/or an accessory dwelling unit.

“The potential residential density in the electoral areas could double,” read the regional district report that highlighted the risk.

According to BC Assessment data provided in the report, around 25 per cent of lots in the electoral areas are currently vacant, therefore a full build-out scenario under the Small-Scale, Multi-Unit Housing legislation could result in a 166 per cent increase in the number of residential units.

That, and ongoing work related to where the McDougall Creek wildfire wreaked havoc last year, are why district staff earlier said they wanted to delay implementation for 18 months beyond June 30 to allow housing at the prescribed density.

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B.C. government release new housing regulations

That, apparently, no longer concerns staff, who removed the item.

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“Following further reflection and reallocation of resources, RDCO staff will not be pursuing an extension from the Ministry of Housing for Bill 44. The request for an extension was removed from the March 28 Board meeting agenda,” a statement from the regional district read.

“The RDCO shares and supports the province’s mandate to prioritize housing affordability and availability in the region while balancing the related public health, safety and environmental concerns specific to rural areas. We are pleased that we have secured the resources needed to work towards the legislative requirements of Bill 44 while mitigating growth concerns.”

Staff said over the next few months they will be working to implement the bylaw amendments and associated analysis to align with Bill 44.

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This could mean they will address concerns previously related to the cumulative effects of increasing density may cause drainage and slope stability challenges. These stability challenges would be particularly acute in areas without access to community sewer and without proper drainage plans.

“Due to infrastructure and servicing limitations in the electoral areas, without robust policies and regulations, additional density may increase risks to public health, safety, or the environment,” the original report read.

Local governments are currently required to adopt bylaw amendments by June 30 to allow housing at the prescribed density.

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