In Cook and Oliphant


December 2, 2016

Victoria – A local developer is urging local governments and residents of Greater Victoria to embrace a more fair and positive approach to investments in homes, affordable rentals and commercial enterprises.

“It’s easy to let a chorus of negative, NIMBY forces, no matter how small or large, drown out proactive efforts to grow our communities and create futures for families, seniors, empty-nesters, first-time buyers and everyone who needs a home,” says Leonard Cole, President of Urban Core Ventures.

NIMBY is an acronym for the expression “not in my backyard.” YIMBY flips that concept to “YES! In my backyard.” The YIMBY movement began in San Francisco in 2011 as a rallying cry for affordable housing and development starts. It has quickly spread to many other centres where residents are facing a housing crisis including New York, London and Vancouver.

Urban Core Ventures is heading to Public Hearing on December 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Victoria City Hall with its five storey residential/commercial building at Cook and Oliphant in the Cook Street Village. The 2012 Official Community Plan (OCP) for Cook Street allows for up to six storeys as a Large Urban Village. While the building is fully compliant with its OCP designation, there has been vocal opposition and two years of revisions and compromises to bring the project to the Public Hearing phase.

The Victoria Residential Builders Association has long advocated housing affordability and revitalizing the community through increasing density and achieving a transparent, efficient development application process as outlined at their website

VRBA Executive Director Casey Edge says studies show municipalities with restrictive zoning and permit approvals tend to have the highest home prices accompanied by declining populations and tax base.

“Municipalities must embrace density to revitalize their communities. A first step might be for city councils to avoid processes and costs to appease groups who oppose density after OCP (Official Community Plan) approval,” says Edge.

VRBA recently asked the provincial government to help streamline the development process with a Best Practices approach to regulations so that developers, residents and local governments can avoid conflicts, reduce costs and avoid duplication of services as they work together to address a significant housing shortage in the capital region.

The Greater Victoria Housing Society, a non-profit established in 1956, worries developments are becoming popularity contests.

“We are happy to support the Cook Street proposal and any project that follows the plans and guidelines as outlined by the communities in which they build,” said Kaye Melliship, Executive Director of the Greater Victoria Housing Society. “If there are consistent rules, the development process will be more streamlined and people who are desperately searching for homes will be more quickly accommodated.”

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