Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Assocation, suggests a disconnect between the stated priorities of Saanich and its actions when it comes to affordable housing. (file photo)

Head of Victoria home builders questions Saanich council in light of survey results

Casey Edge of VRBA says Saanich’s actions concerning housing do not match priorities of residents

The head of the Victoria Residential Builders Association (VRBA) suggests a disconnect between the stated priorities of Saanich and its actions when it comes to affordable housing in commenting on the results of a survey guiding Saanich’s financial and strategic decision.

VRBA executive director Casey Edge said 47 per cent of respondents in the Saanich Citizen Survey (2019) expressed dissatisfaction with policies to promote affordable housing.

“That’s a very high number considering housing affordability was a big part of the campaigns by members of council,” he said.

RELATED: Almost 25 per cent of Saanich residents identify housing as top issue

By way of background, 47 per cent of participants said they were either “not very satisfied” (32 per cent) or “not at all satisfied” (15 per cent) with Saanich’s current policies that encourage affordable housing. Forty-two per cent said they were “somewhat satisfied” with 11 per cent saying they “were satisfied.”

No policy area received a lower satisfaction rating in the statistically significant survey, which asked 1,022 randomly selected Saanich residents between Jan. 21 and Feb. 1, 2019, some three months after the current council assumed office.

Edge also pointed out that housing received the highest number of respondents (22 per cent) who identified it as the single most important issue facing Saanich.

Citing this background, Edge repeated his earlier criticism of Saanich’s decision to raise development cost charges (DCC) and introduce a building code designed to improve energy efficiency.

RELATED: Saanich set to raise development cost charges by 180 per cent

RELATED: Head of Greater Victoria builders critical of stricter climate policy

“So council boosting [development cost charges] by 180 [per cent] and adopting the Step Code adding thousands to the cost of housing was clearly the opposite of what residents expected,” he said.

Municipal officials say the increase in DCCs is overdue and necessary to help finance the cost of development, while the Step Code will help the municipality reach the goals of its climate action plan. It calls on Saanich to use 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent in 2050, as part of a larger response.

Edge has also singled out other areas of the survey for criticism. “Some of the lowest satisfaction ratings include building inspections and permits and land use planning, which declined seven per cent and 10 per cent respectively since 2015,” he said. “That’s not surprising considering both are closely tied to affordability. If developers and builders, the main clients of these services, were the primary respondents, the ratings would be even lower. Saanich has an industry reputation of some of the slowest and most costly development processes in the CRD.”

Coun. Judy Brownoff echoed this criticism at least in part during Monday’s council meeting, when she also identified those same areas among others for improvement.

Just Posted

WATCH: Our Place Therapeutic Recovery Community turns into a ‘place of healing’

500 volunteers, 120 businesses worked to transform View Royal community

A party for 11 pups and their adoptive families in Beckwith Park in Saanich

The coonhound siblings reunited at a barbeque on Saturday

HarbourCats bats hot in home return

Victoria squad downs Yakima Valley Pippins 17-2

Victoria veteran receives French Legion of Honour, becoming knight of France

Ted Vaughan was a pilot in the 408 “Goose” Squadron in WW2

Witness the passion and fire of flamenco in Victoria this July

Seventh annual Victoria Flamenco Festival features free and ticketed performances downtown

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read