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Placing housing near transit hubs will encourage use, Saanich councillor says

Province plans to to buy land, encourage development along transportation corridors
Changes introduced by Transportation Minister Rob Fleming recently would allow the province to buy lands not just for transportation projects, but to help encourage development of housing and other amenities on transit corridors and at hubs as a way to get more people using transit. (Black Press Media file photo)

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming recently introduced changes that will allow a provincial agency to buy and develop land for housing and amenities along transit corridors – an opportunity Saanich Coun. Susan Brice sees as promising for Greater Victoria.

The province is moving to ensure development density follows transit routes. Bill 16, introduced on April 5 by Fleming – also Victoria-Swan Lake MLA – calls for changes to the Transportation Act that would give the BC Transportation Financing Authority the ability to purchase land not just for transportation projects, but to support the development of housing and amenities near stations or exchanges built as part of the public transit system.

Brice, who also chairs the Victoria Regional Transit Commission, said there is a total commitment in the region to connect transit with land-use planning.

ALSO READ: B.C. to force higher-density development along transit lines

“Our goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions means that we plan in a manner that hopefully has people choose transit as their means of moving about the community whenever possible.” Making transit closer, more reliable and more frequent will get people in ‘transit mode,’ she added.

“I was so pleased to see the minister table this legislation,” said Dean Murdock, an advocate for active transportation and housing affordability and a declared Saanich mayoral candidate.

Creating centres where people can find good homes well-served by quality public transit is an important step forward, he said, and ticks the boxes for housing, climate and affordability.

The major centres identified in Saanich’s Official Community Plan (OCP): McKenzie and Quadra, McKenzie and Shelbourne, Tillicum, Uptown and Royal Oak, are examples of where the district can develop transit-oriented centres, Murdock said. With provincial support, Saanich will be able to move OCP plans forward more efficiently, he added.

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