The City of Colwood is leading a region wide Household Affordability and Prosperity Project to explore new pathways to support housing affordability for residents, and spur municipal action on affordability. The project is intended to facilitate more cohesive and concerted regional effort to tackle the pervasive issue of poverty and housing affordability that transcends municipal boundaries. Over 30 elected officials attended, including Mayors, representing most of the municipalities in the Capital Region.
Funding for the project is provided by the Union of BC Municipalities to support the work of the City of Colwood and Community Social Planning Council of Greater Victoria in achieving these goals. The City of Victoria and the District of Saanich have signed on as municipal partners, with the City of Langford joining for phase 2 of the project.
Learning sessions with Brent Toderian
With this in mind, Colwood has hosted two learning sessions for municipal leaders. The first was held December 5, 2022 and the second on March 6, 2023 featuring workshop leader, Brent Toderian. Toderian is a nationally and internationally respected urban planning practitioner and thought-leader on cities and city-building, with over 30 years of experience in advanced urbanism, city planning, urban design, transportation and change management. One point he focused on in the session is the importance of building complete neighbourhoods that support affordability.
"Don't just count units, a word I hate since what we’re talking about are homes... you need to create and support affordable, livable and sustainable neighbourhoods through successful developments," said Toderian. "And don’t be focussed on just one thing, like affordability. Good city-building always embraces the many public benefits that can come from smart development."
Concrete action to support regional housing affordability
Work on the Regional Housing Affordability Project to date has included:
- Literature reviews and case studies from other jurisdictions to learn from and share local and global best practices,
- Creation of a profile of housing poverty and vulnerability,
- Compilation of local policy, practices, successes and challenges,
- Engagement with municipal, business, and community partners,
- Creation of a framework to share research findings and solutions.
Next steps toward regional housing affordability
The City of Colwood looks forward to leading the second phase of the Regional Housing Affordability Project, which will create the opportunity for additional municipalities to join the project. The goals of phase two include:
- Creating a staff-level community of practice to share local learning and best practices that support affordability,
- Research support to create fact sheets, webinars, speaker sessions, and case studies,
- Updates to the housing needs reports and expansion of the toolkit,
- Continue to offer regional workshops for Councillors and senior staff on municipal housing affordability,
- Explore opportunities for formal collaboration on pilot projects such as tenant assistance.
How can other municipalities get involved?
Municipal partners will have the opportunity to provide research support and host workshops, as well as becoming partners in community engagement around housing affordability challenges and solutions. For more information, municipal staff can contact Community Planning at the City of Colwood.
About the Community Social Planning Council
The Community Social Planning Council conducts dialogues, engagement processes, and applied research that informs decision making across all sectors in order to support broad based social well-being. This is done by bringing people together to address community issues, conducting community-based research, supporting community and regional planning processes.
Sandra Russell, Communications Manager