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City of Richmond requests Bill 44 deadline extension

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 3:33 PDT, Tue May 28, 2024

The City of Richmond is seeking an extension from the provincial government’s Bill 44 rezoning deadline of June 30 so critical sanitary sewer infrastructure improvements can be done in Steveston before construction of multiplexes with up to six units on single family lots can occur.

Richmond City Council approved the following at last night’s meeting:

“As a result of the provincial government’s imposition of Bill 44 which requires the city to allow up to six units for most single-family or duplex zoned lots within the Steveston neighbourhood, with no onsite parking requirements, the city is applying for an extension from the province’s June 30, 2024 deadline to amend zoning to allow small-scale multi-unit housing in the area bound by Steveston Highway to the north, No. 1 Road to the east, Chatham Street to the south and 7th Avenue to the west. The extension is required due to the ongoing Steveston sanitary sewer replacement program and the need to ensure this infrastructure work is completed prior to allowing small-scale multi-unit housing in the area. The extension will also provide time to consult with the Steveston community on the potential impacts of Bill 44 to the character of this historic neighbourhood as no stakeholder or public consultation was conducted by the province prior to the adoption of Bill 44 and there was no consideration of the impact and consequences of a ‘one size fits all’ approach for increasing housing supply on the character of distinct historical neighbourhood such as Steveston.”

The city is concerned that the provincial government’s imposed approach for housing does not consider the infrastructure needs generated by increased density in single-family neighbourhoods. Upgrades to sewer and drainage infrastructure, a lack of parking space as well as the need for sidewalks and paths to support safe pedestrian access for transit are examples of needs Bill 44 has failed to consider. Significant concerns also exist about the negative impacts legislation such as Bill 44 can have on the historic character of communities like Steveston.

Council directed staff to reach out to the local MLAs to inform them of the extension application and rationale, and to request a meeting with the Provincial Minister of Housing, the Hon. Ravi Kahlon, to discuss the concerns.

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