The City of Burnaby is going to be a trailblazer, as the first municipality in Metro Vancouver to implement a rental zoning bylaw with a purpose of maintaining affordable rental stock.
This comes on the heels of the BC NDP passing a Residential Rental Tenure Zoning Amendment Act in May, providing cities new powers to enact bylaws that: require new housing in residential areas to be developed as rental units; preserve existing rental housing; and ensure a percentage of housing units in a building be rental.
“Burnaby has been a consistent advocate with asking provincial governments to invest in low-cost housing and give municipalities zoning for rental housing as a method to increase and protect the supply of rental housing in our community,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan.
“We were optimistic when the new legislation came in about six weeks ago that allows us the tools to require older market rental buildings be replaced as part of any redevelopment. Previously, cities could only attempt to negotiate density in exchange for small numbers of market units, but now we will have the legislative authority to require the replacement.”
To get the ball rolling, City council passed a motion last month for staff to begin the process of implementing the bylaw, which includes a provision that all redevelopment of market rental buildings must also include a satisfactory social housing component.
“We really appreciate Premier Horgan’s government for enacting this broad legislation giving municipalities an additional tool to develop rental housing. As the City who asked for rental zoning, and government investment in housing, for decades, we are pleased to be the first City to make it work and help toward making life more affordable for our citizens,” said Corrigan.
Burnaby currently has more than 5,900 units of non-market housing, 1,900 units of co-op housing and 32,000 units of market rental.