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Why is the City of North Vancouver receiving housing targets?

City of North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan says she is 'surprised' to be on the latest list, as her municipality has been one of the top for building new developments in B.C.
A construction worker handles a drill at a new development on 15th Street in North Vancouver. | Nick Laba / North Shore News

When you’ve been put on something that’s been dubbed the “naughty list,” you might expect to have done something wrong.

That could explain North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan’s reaction to her city being included on the province’s next list of communities to receive housing targets.

On Tuesday, the City of North Vancouver was included among 20 municipalities identified by the B.C. government in “high-growth, high need regions.”

Until now, the majority of communities that have been slated for provincial housing quotas have been historically slow to approve new density. Those include the District of North Vancouver and th District of West Vancouver.

Meanwhile, North Van city has been approving rentals at a rapid click, outpacing many of its peers across the province.

“Given the City of North Vancouver and the province have built a collaborative relationship, and as the city has continued to meet housing targets in regional growth strategies, I am surprised that a provincial housing target has been ordered for my community,” Buchanan said in a statement posted to social media on Tuesday.

The mayor continued by stating that her city already has a responsible plan for growth.

“In my previous conversations with [Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon], I have been very clear that the city’s growth cannot be scaled up as a result of ordering a housing target,” Buchanan said. “However, in the spirit of collaboration, we will continue to engage with the province on housing and infrastructure.”

List includes some municipalities doing well on housing, minister says

In the provincial statement, Kahlon stated that the new list “includes communities that are doing well on housing and some that need to do more.”

The province will monitor and work with these 20 municipalities to achieve their targets, which will be announced this summer, according to the statement.

“Communities, such as the City of North Vancouver, Kelowna, New Westminster and the City of Langley, are demonstrating how local governments should respond to their growing needs and are taking even further actions to achieve their goals,” reads the statement.

But despite assurances, other municipal leaders balked at their inclusion on Tuesday’s list, including New Westminster Mayor Patrick Johnstone.

“Prioritizing New Westminster for new housing targets makes no sense when this city has spent more than a decade leading the region in meeting housing needs,” he said.

The provincial “naughty list” has received previous pushback on the North Shore as well. Most recently, District of North Vancouver council pointed out that it’s already on track to meet or exceed provincial quotas.

“I remain at a loss to know why we were singled out in such a prominent way for this housing order when what was mandated upon us … is actually to produce less housing than we have been,” said Coun. Jim Hanson at a meeting Monday evening.