Delta will have to look beyond its current Official Community Plan (OCP) for affordable housing options, according to council candidate Garry Shearer.
Shearer, who is running on the Independents Working for You slate, said development potential in Delta’s three communities is restricted by farmland, road infrastructure, lack of public transit and the OCP itself, causing demand to greatly outpace supply and prices to surge.
If elected, Shearer and his running mates will implement a development plan that encourages “new prototypes for housing options that fit within our current neighbourhoods,” according to a press release issued earlier this week.
“We need to start considering different solutions to address affordable housing and we need to start now,” Shearer said in the press release. “When I developed products for our high-tech businesses, I would start with a prototype and test the market for the potential adoption of the product. I would take all the feedback for the prototype then make a beta version of the product for a controlled group of customers before releasing the final product or, in some cases, scrapping it.”
Shearer said a similar approach should be taken to find sing;e- and multi-family home concepts that increase density without losing the character of Delta’s neighbourhoods.
“The Higgins family in North Delta are doing just that. Using a standard 66-foot lot they, with the support of their neighbours, have received approval to build four homes on the one lot to enable their children to own homes in Delta. It took them several years and petitions of support from their neighbours to get this plan approved,” Shearer said. “But the approval came with a high price: $66,000 in development fees and over $85,000 for a landscaping deposit.”
For new plans to work, he said, the city must remove the barriers such as high development fees and deposits that “discourage these kinds of innovative developments.”
“With the Higgins model and other prototypes, we can add density that fits within our existing neighbourhoods and increase the supply of affordable housing in Delta.”
The civic election will take place on Oct. 20, with advance voting on Oct. 6, 10 and 11.