Affordable housing – my letter to Mayor and Councillors


April 11, 2022

Mayor and Council

City Hall

City of Victoria

Sent by email to and

Dear Mayor and Councillors,

Re: Rapid Deployment of Affordable Housing proposal

We need to accelerate the provision of affordable housing in Victoria. Doing so will improve the lives of many residents, and will help to reduce homelessness and its impacts on both the unhoused and the rest of the community.

Increasing housing availability and choice within the City of Victoria – where people can live closer to employment, shopping and other destinations – will also help to:

  • Increase resident access to services and employment opportunities;

  • Reduce labour shortages that are impacting businesses and causing shorter hours and closures;

  • Enlarge the pool of customers for local small businesses;

  • Reduce suburban sprawl, and the resulting clearcutting of forests, pressure on agricultural lands, traffic, pollution, and GHG emissions; and,

  • Increase the amount of taxable property in the City, and thereby help support public services and reduce future tax increases for residents and businesses.

As I understand it, the proposal itself:

  • Is consistent with and supports existing Council policy;

  • Has had careful analysis by City staff;

  • Has been the subject of extensive consultation; and,

  • Would apply to a relatively small number of projects (two applications were submitted to the City of Victoria in 2018, five in 2019 and three in 2020), which must be:

    • public, co-op or non-profit housing;

    • secured affordable rental housing;

    • consistent with the Official Community Plan;

    • in an area zoned for multi-residential; and,

    • consistent with the design guidelines of Council, and go through the Advisory Design Panel process.

The proposal would delegate decision-making on some development permits and variances to the Director of Sustainable Planning and Community Development. Council in Victoria – as in other cities – already has experience in delegating significant decision-making authority in a number of areas ranging from approving many new buildings, to road repair, to law enforcement. I expect that Council will direct staff to ensure that there are effective channels for community input, as well as meaningful consideration of that input.

Finally, I would point out that it is always possible to adjust or change course in the future if the proposal ends up creating problems. In the meantime, the City needs to act with the appropriate level of seriousness and urgency to address the housing crisis.


Yours truly,

Dave Thompson