Members were treated to a frank discussion with BC’s Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon. Chamber CEO Bruce Williams presided over a lively discussion about the provincial government’s plan to increase housing supply.
The minister noted that legislation had been introduced that very morning that will help projects avoid time-consuming legal delays, despite some municipalities’ “NIMBY” attitude. Two hours after introducing the bill, Kahlon spoke at the Chamber meeting and doubled down on the province’s full-steam-ahead stance.
Among other topics was a discussion about the need to remove barriers for skilled workers arriving from other countries and provinces. Delays in the recognition of credentials has been an ongoing concern for newcomers wanting to work in Greater Victoria. Minister Kahlon encouraged The Chamber to continue advocating for change, noting that the message has been heard. He pointed to efforts to increase BC’s healthcare workforce that are beginning to pay off.
Also discussed were increasing student housing to free up rental properties for workers, strategies to house the homeless, and the use of public land to build non-market housing for low- and moderate-income families.
“The Chamber is grateful to Minister Kahlon for sharing his time with our members to talk about the many challenges facing housing in Greater Victoria and the province,” Williams said. “This year’s annual general meeting was the 160th time we’ve reported to our members and we’re working to make sure the next 12 months are successful all our member businesses and for everyone in our community.”