housing legislation

The Province has recently introduced new legislation that changes the local government land use planning framework with the goal of increasing B.C.’s housing supply. As required under the legislation, the City of Port Moody will update its Zoning Bylaw and Official Community Plan to incorporate changes related to small-scale, multi-unit housing and Transit-Oriented Development Areas, and undertake additional work such as drafting a bylaw for a new development finance tool. 

Visit portmoody.ca/provhousinglegislation for links to provincial resources that provide detailed information about changes to the planning framework, and to learn about the steps Port Moody will take to comply with the following three pieces of provincial legislation: 

1. Bill 44: Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment 

The goal of Bill 44 is to enable small-scale, multi-unit housing by establishing unit minimums for all single-family and duplex lots. These unit minimums vary depending on lot size and proximity to frequent transit. For Port Moody, all properties in single detached residential (RS) zones and specific properties in multi-residential (RT and RM) zones qualify for at least a three-unit minimum. 

Here are some key steps for the City:

  • We will update qualifying zones to allow for the legislated multi-unit housing in adherence with the provincial standards.
  • The updated Zoning Bylaw will be presented to City Council for three readings. Pursuant to Bill 44, a public hearing will not be held, and a notice that a public hearing will not be held will be provided in accordance with the process set out in the Local Government Act.
  • Prior to Council’s consideration of the proposed Zoning Bylaw amendments, the City will host an information session for the public. Attendees will have a chance to learn about the updates and ask questions.
  • We will update Port Moody’s Housing Needs Report using the Province’s methodology with a 20-year outlook.
  • We will update Port Moody’s Official Community Plan (OCP) to reflect all legislative requirements and the Zoning Bylaw by December 31, 2025.

An important note about public hearings: Bill 44 prohibits site-by-site public hearings for rezoning applications that are consistent with OCPs and when the sole purpose of the rezoning bylaw is to enable residential development. Public hearings will continue to be required for updates to OCPs and rezonings that are not consistent with an OCP, and allowed for non-residential rezonings that are OCP compliant. 

2. Bill 46: Housing Statutes (Development Financing) Amendment Act 

The goal of Bill 46 is to provide new and updated development finance tools that local governments can use to help fund the costs of infrastructure and amenities needed to support complete and livable communities. It expands the infrastructure categories that Development Cost Charges (DCCs) can collect and introduces a new Amenity Cost Charge (ACC) that municipalities can use to support increased population and related demands on community amenities. 

Here are some key steps for the City:

  • We will draft a new bylaw for Amenity Cost Charges after reviewing all regulations and provincial guidelines.
  • We will review and update current Development Cost Charges. 

3. Bill 47: Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Areas) Amendment Act 

Bill 47 designates Transit-Oriented Development Areas (TOD Areas) near transit hubs to increase density near rapid transit such as SkyTrain stations. The framework creates a tiered system (based on provincially-prescribed distances from the transit centre) that defines standards such as minimum allowable density and heights, and removes minimum parking requirements for off-street residential uses. The goal is to create mixed-use, complete communities in these areas. Moody Centre and Inlet Centre SkyTrain stations are both subject to this Transit-Oriented Development Area framework. 

Here are some key steps for the City:

  • We will create and release a map showing the boundaries of the TOD Areas to be included in the Zoning Bylaw.
  • We will update the Zoning Bylaw in accordance with these TOD Areas by June 30, 2024.
  • The OCP will be updated to reflect the Transit-Oriented Development Area framework by December 31, 2025.

As the B.C. government’s new housing initiatives and related legislation will impact Port Moody’s Official Community Plan, the City has made the difficult decision to pause public engagement on Port Moody 2050, our process to gather public input and draft updates to the OCP. We anticipate that public engagement will resume in early 2025, when residents and business owners/operators will have a chance to review and share their thoughts on a draft Official Community Plan that incorporates Housing Bills 44 and 47 as well as the other polices introduced in December 2023. 

“While the Province’s goals align with our commitment to prioritize transit-oriented development and offer diverse and equitable housing options in Port Moody, the new legislation creates some challenges for local governments and residents,” said Mayor Meghan Lahti. “The aggressive timelines mean City staff may need to put other important work on hold, and the elimination of public hearings means our residents will have fewer opportunities to provide input on development projects proposed for their community. 

“The changes also create uncertainty around how we will fund the infrastructure and amenities needed to support growth. Our Council will continue to ask senior levels of government to do their part by introducing policies and providing funding to help us build the right mix of housing and add the infrastructure and amenities needed for complete communities.”