Vancouver councillor wants permitting for new childcare facilities sped up

Nov 29 2018, 6:33 am

A motion by Vancouver City Councillor Melissa De Genova that calls for an acceleration of childcare development projects in the city will be considered during next Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

De Genova wants council to request city staff work with Vancouver Coastal Health and the provincial government to streamline and expedite their processes for permitting and licensing new childcare facilities in the city.

This supplements a previous motion by De Genova, just before the civic election, proposing further incentives for developers in exchange for new childcare spaces in their buildings, similar to the incentives offered under the Rental 100: Secured Market Rental Policy.

That first motion, which was referred to city staff, also called for expediting and streamlining the application process. She expects a report back to City Council in June 2019.

If her newest motion is approved, the city would be requested to contact the provincial government to secure further funding for future childcare projects, given the BC NDP provincial government’s ambitious childcare plan entailing rapidly building new childcare spaces and providing significant subsidies to families to ensure the affordability of childcare.

Additionally, De Genova wants the municipal government to consider building childcare using temporary structures similar to the modular housing program, and consider new requirements for childcare facilities to be included on the development of city-owned land, when appropriate.

“Vancouver is facing an affordability crisis. A lack of affordable housing and affordable childcare are limiting the abilities of families to continue to live in the city of Vancouver,” she wrote.

According to the municipal government in June, only 400 of the 1,064 committed childcare spaces in the 2015-2018 Capital Plan have been built, as the vast majority are still in various stages of development. Most of these spaces will be open by 2021, and about 75% of the spaces were made possible by development fees.

For the 2019-2022 Capital Plan, the city has a goal of building an additional 1,000 spaces at a cost of $116 million.

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