Housing & Affordability Action Plan

Priorities:

  • Reduce the cost and timelines for smart, responsible development – saving people money and streamlining city processes.
  • Work towards the right mix of housing to support each stage of family life for Burnaby residents and work closely with senior levels of government and their funding to achieve results.
  • Bring the best people and resources together on a task force that will get right to work on Burnaby’s housing challenges and present their findings within six months.

 

Guiding principles:

  • We need to meet the needs of people at every stage of their lives.
  • People across all income levels must be able to live and work in Burnaby.
  • Family friendly housing – so kids can grow, learn, have fun and be safe.
  • Senior friendly options – to age safely in place and to be closer to services they need.
  • Density increases must be sensitive to the liveability and character of neighbourhoods.
  • We strengthen neighbourhoods, bring people together, and build a sustainable city.
  • We work with all levels of government to achieve results.

 

Priority Actions:

In each of the areas below, we will work effectively with senior levels of government to improve affordability throughout Burnaby.

Metrotown: People are being kicked out of their homes and neighbourhoods – and that’s just wrong. The current Mayor has shown no empathy for Burnaby residents who are struggling. That is unacceptable going forward, and we need solutions that allow people to stay in our community. We will:

  • Place a moratorium on developments not yet approved until accommodation at the same rent levels can be found for residents who are being forced from their homes.
  • Work with builders, other housing providers, and senior levels of government to provide solutions to displacement of families.

 

Housing Task Force: It will be brought together in January and will be charged with providing interim recommendations and a final report within six months. Members will include residents, housing providers and stakeholders, builders, developers, co-op housing groups and other advocacy groups. Their terms of reference will include:

  • Steps needed to improve and streamline zoning and permit processes.
  • Determination of the need for a City-owned land and housing authority.
  • Land trusts and financing models that effectively impact and improve affordability.
  • Effective utilization and leverage of the $87 million housing fund.
  • Effective use of city-owned and under-utilized lands for affordable and transitional housing.
  • Forms of speculation tax where the City has added value through density increases or the use of City lands.
  • Identification of emerging forms of housing and how we might provide flexibility that allows additional housing stock to be built.
    • ie. Equity Co-ops, Affordable Rental; Specialty, Housing Seniors Housing, Student Housing, and City Leased Land contributions to projects.

 

Demovictions: All planning must consider the needs of those who may be displaced. This extends beyond Metrotown where housing stock is aging in other areas of Burnaby.  Actions may include:

  • Acquisition of a building to house those displaced until new affordable housing is provided in their former neighbourhoods.
  • Provision of new short-term accommodations on available land.
  • Continuation of joint relocation assistance to affected families.

 

Housing Groups: Rental housing, co-op housing and not-for-profit housing throughout Burnaby are based on providing affordable housing. Existing structures are aging and need replacement, but the costs are often prohibitive. Actions will include:

  • Immediate review of development plans that have been ignored by the City.
  • Open discussions to identify needs and future plans within the sector.
  • Full engagement with senior levels of government on funding for projects.
  • Determination of further ways and means to develop new affordable housing stock.

 

Getting Caught Up:  Burnaby has fallen behind our neighbouring communities in addressing affordability and neighbourhood density. Actions will include:

  • A review of coach or laneway housing, secondary suites and utilization of crawlspace.
  • Determination and implementation of best practices from other jurisdictions.

 

The Challenge: There is no one magic wand or quick fix. As a city, we can only do our part. We will challenge:

  • City staff, at all levels, to be creative in finding ideas and solutions that make us a stronger, more efficient and a family-friendly community.
  • All building contractors and others to use the openness of a new administration to bring forward plans that put people and families first, that build neighbourhoods, and control speculation.
  • Political leadership at the City – to work together and to work with senior levels of government to make Burnaby the place where innovation and solutions can be both explored and realized.

 

Some recent data on how Burnaby ranks:

The BC Non-Profit Housing Association noted:

  • Burnaby ranks 70 out of 72 municipalities in BC on supply and affordability
  • We rank 520 out of 522 municipalities in Canada

 

The recent Best Canadian Cities to live in the survey noted:

  • Burnaby ranked 182 out of 415 (Vancouver ranked 88th)

Renter income in Burnaby data from BC Non-Profit Housing Association:

  • A quarter of renter households in Burnaby have an average income of only $10,352, the lowest in the region. These households earn well below the full-time minimum wage, which would bring home just over $25,000.

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