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VIDEO: Mayor defends province's new fast-track zoning rules for housing

When Kelowna council voted to go ahead with provincially mandated zoning bylaws, the vote came begrudgingly.

Two councillors voted against the change.

Others complained before raising their hands in favour, saying they had no choice.

But if Mayor Tom Days believes the province is being heavy-handed with municipal councils, he’s not saying so.

“There’s a lot of positives in what they’re mandating and what they’re bringing forward,” said Dyas.

The new housing bylaws will mean fewer public hearings to slow the process.

Only housing projects which run afoul of the Official Community Plan and commercial development projects could bring that about.

The net result is council members and the general public will have less of an opportunity to have their say.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

“What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to move development forward,” Dyas said.

As for the complaints coming from others on city council, the mayor sees it as resistance to change.

“There are council members who have been on council for longer,” he reasons. “It’s a change.”

The mayor agrees the housing affordability problem is a crisis and the new framework will speed up the process of increasing the supply of housing.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

“This is a way to look at expediting that,” he said.

He also argues that it gives clarity for developers.

“It gives greater understanding and greater consistency,” Dyas explained.

And as our neighbourhoods change, not everyone is going to like it.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

But now, unhappy neighbours might as well complain directly to Victoria.

“In speaking with the Premier a little over a week ago, he understands that this is something that he’s taking off the shoulders of municipalities,” said Dyas.

The mayor agrees with the provincial government that we need more housing, we need it quickly, and he believes the change will help bring that about.

“What they’re trying to do is they’re trying to move development forward.”

The provincial government's messaging on the topic said that while there will be fewer public hearings in the future, there will be "more frequent opportunities for people to be involved in shaping their communities earlier in the process when official community plans are updated."

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