Vancouver City Council takes action to accelerate housing delivery, reduce permitting backlog

VANCOUVER City Council on Tuesday voted to make significant changes to expedite the delivery of new housing units and address the City’s backlog of housing applications. The changes include new direction regarding the prioritization of housing applications and the elimination of an unnecessary stage in the application process.

“Today, we took another significant step forward towards getting more housing built faster,” said Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim. “By streamlining the application process and prioritizing projects with the most net new housing units, we are speeding up the delivery of much-needed housing across the City of Vancouver.”

The Council’s decision means that the City will now prioritize project applications with the highest numbers of net new housing units, leading to more housing being built while significantly reducing the risk of displacement for existing residents.

“We need more housing of every type – in addition to social and supportive housing, we need more rental, mixed-use, and opportunities for affordable homeownership,” said Councillor Peter Meiszner. “With today’s actions, we are sending a clear message that the delivery of more housing units is the priority.”

Additionally, the Council voted to discontinue the Policy Enquiry Process (PEP), a time-consuming stage of the housing development application process. The PEP had led to months of additional wait times on projects and significantly limited City staff capacity in processing applications.

“This is a win for all Vancouver residents who want to see a future for themselves and their families in Vancouver,” said Councillor Mike Klassen. “Discontinuing the PEP allows City staff to focus resources on approving projects that create the maximum number of housing units and protect renters against displacement.”

Council’s actions build on previous commitments to lower permit wait times to a “3-3-3-1” system, ensuring applications for renovations and single-family homes are completed within three days, townhomes and multiplexes within three weeks, low and mid-rise apartments within three months, and major projects within one year.