To help make it faster to build social and secured rental housing, Vancouver City Council has approved another permit process improvement to allow projects to start digging sooner.

Eligible new developments may now receive their building permit to begin excavating and shoring earlier in the construction process. This will allow these projects to be completed sooner, and give businesses more flexibility while other aspects of their project applications are finalized.

Eligible projects include:

  • Social housing;
  • Secured market rental housing;
  • Cultural and recreational spaces such as an artist studio, community centre or neighbourhood house, library, museum or archive, and park or playground; or
  • Institutional spaces such as a school, hospital or child care facility.

Applicants are requested to contact the applicable Project Facilitator for more details, conditions on how to apply, and the requirement for proposals to be submitted by a Certified Professional.

Last month, the City was named the recipient of a $500,000 development grant from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. The grant will fund a new Interactive Digital Development Application designed to improve both the digital customer journey and application process times.

The City Manager’s Task Force has identified a large number of potential opportunities to reduce processing times. Further proposals for regulation and policy changes will be presented to Council in the coming months.

While addressing the development and building permitting process has been a top priority for the City for several years, the COVID-19 pandemic exposed underlying challenges with City processes, and application wait times have become increasingly unmanageable.

In a motion earlier this spring, City Council made improving wait times and clearing the application backlog a priority and established the City Manager’s task force with a dedicated $1 million dollars in funding.

In June 2021, Council approved an initial set of regulatory and policy changes that are expected to save up to 10,000 hours of permit review time on residential applications. Council has also referred a second set of regulatory changes aimed at streamlining permits for commercial renovations and business licensing for consideration at an upcoming Public Hearing.

Featured image: (Vancouver Economic Commission)

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