City of Victoria will require 34,600 units of new housing by 2050: report
Mike Kozakowski, Citified.ca
Published February 6, 2024
The City of Victoria’s Official Community Plan (OCP) review process has identified a need for 34,600 units of new housing to be constructed by 2050, if the City-proper intends to comply with provincial population growth projections, housing quotas and housing replacement targets.
A staff report issued to council this week identifies the need for a net new addition of 26,600 units of housing to sustain a projected population growth in the municipality to 142,000 people by 2050, from approximately 92,000 residents counted in the 2021 census. An additional 8,000 units are needed to deal with “latent demand,” the City says.
As to the forms of housing required, the report states that housing will need to be “diverse in both type and tenure to meet the needs of renters, families and households with a range of incomes.”
More broadly speaking, the report cites an estimated regional population of 600,000 people “in the coming decades,” following a Provincial population growth estimate released last week. The net growth projected for Greater Victoria will be in the magnitude of 200,000 residents, and significantly higher than a federal population estimate from 2022 that forecasted population growth in the Capital of around 80,000 people by 2041
under what was described as a “high immigration” growth scenario.
|A map identifying estimated building heights as part of a "bolder" housing approach in the City of Victoria. A "boldest" scenario would see much of the municipality up-zoned to six-storey heights. City of Victoria
Last fall, the province issued housing targets for select municipalities in British Columbia, including the City of Victoria. The city-proper’s housing target over five years is for the delivery of 4,900 units in the form of 3,365 studio and one-bedroom homes, 801 as two-bedroom layouts, and 736 as three-bedroom homes. Of the 4,902 total, 3,483 are expected to be rental units, 1,789 of which are to be below-market rentals and 1,685 will be market rentals, and 102 are envisioned as supportive units.
Staff propose a blanket height of three to six storeys City-wide as one solution to meeting housing targets, with a blanket up-zoning of three to six storeys identified as a "bolder scenarion," and a six-storey upzoning as a "boldest" scenario.
“This approach,” the report cites in relation to anticipated housing density, “recognizes that Victoria is and will continue to be the heart of a region that will reach 600,000 people in the coming decades. Good urban design, parks and open spaces, village centres and walkable, bikeable neighbourhoods all provide a foundation to support new growth and density while facilitating liveable public spaces, safety and well-being. To this end, all areas of the city are strategic for growth. The low- to mid-rise scale envisioned throughout the city is aligned with the form of development that is most viable to construct, enabling builders and developers to meet provincial and municipal housing goals. It is also the scale of development that is most well-aligned with [greenhouse gas] reduction targets.”
With staff's report going before council this week, and pending council's support of staff’s recommendations, public consultation on Victoria’s housing and population growth prospects would begin as early as this month, culminating in the fall. Adoption of an updated OCP would occur by mid-2025. C
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