Better Land Use
Help Us Transform Delta's Neighbourhoods into people-oriented Places
(for Everyone's Benefit)
WHAT Del-POP is a growing network advocating for positive change
WHO A diverse network of residents who want Delta to thrive
WHY We love our city!
The City of Delta's Housing Policy is Driving Up Costs and Removing Options
Over 77% of the City’s housing lands are being deliberately reserved for homes worth more than $1.3 million. Let’s end the apartment bans and begin to add options for housing in Delta.
Until we change our policies and processes at City Hall, we will not be able to meaningfully address the crisis we’ve created with escalating rents, crippling house prices, and an inadequate supply of housing options in Delta.
- The City of Delta Housing Needs Assessment is clear: we need to change.
- The City of Delta Housing Action Plan is clear: we need to change.
- The City of Delta Social Action Plan is clear: we need to change.
- The City of Delta Climate Change Strategy is clear: we need to change.
We should have seen this coming 60 years ago but, since we didn’t change our city’s development pattern then, the next best time to change it is now.
The City of Delta's Land Use Rules prioritize Cars to the Detriment of Everyone
Our land use rules prioritize the movement of personal automobiles at the expense of every other user of our public realm. Auto-oriented development rules prescribe expensive parking requirements and make our neighbourhood streets unsafe by valuing speed over safety.
Houses are set back from the street by mandatory frontage requirements that eat up valuable space while providing less flexibility with home designs and ruling out the possibility of adding additional homes on a property.
We invest heavily in roadway improvements and maintaining the landscaping of medians in the middle of our roads while ignoring the condition of the sidewalk users who are buffeted by noise and faced with serious personal risks when using these unprotected spaces.
We prevent redevelopment of retail stores and the introduction of new retailers and services within neighbourhoods because of overstated concerns over increases of private automobile traffic at the expense of walkable neighbourhoods and those who don’t own cars.
We make our streets unsafe spaces for children, seniors, and individuals with disabilities and, when pressed, we declare that no actions can be taken to address these issues because it will hamper traffic throughput or the movement of oversized emergency response vehicles that are needed to respond to the collisions caused by our streets being unsafe.
Of course it must be said, in response to those who immediately react to such things, that we’re not advocating for the end of cars in Delta. But we are calling for a more responsible and financially productive approach to developing our neighbourhoods. Thousands of significant housing and retail projects have been shelved because of traffic concerns. Are we certain we want to prioritize one type of street user at the expense of everyone?
The City of Delta's Process to Approve More Housing is Bogged Down and Needs to Change
Countless proposals to introduce more housing in Delta have been shut down by delays, negativity, uncertainty, and unnecessary requirements. In a city with 77% of its land dedicated to a housing type currently valued at over $1.3 million, surely we should we exploring ways to expedite the construction of semi-detached homes, apartments, rowhouses, accessory dwelling units, coach houses, condos, etc.
However, Delta’s policies and process makes it is far easier to tear down an older home and replace it with a large, multi-million $ mansion. We know who this process benefits and who this hurts. In order to avoid a future where no one in a household earning less than $100,000 can afford rent in Delta, let alone to purchase a townhome or apartment, we need to act.
Affordable housing projects routinely wait over 2 years before receiving approval whereas house flippers receive approval to proceed within 6-10 weeks of submitting their request. This is a deliberate consequence of a policy framework that has favoured single detached home neighbourhoods and actively prevented the introduction of other housing types within these exclusive enclaves.
It was less visible when average home prices hovered in the $400-$700,000 range but now that single detached homes start over $1 million and quickly hit $2 million or more, the reality is that average income earners who do not currently own a home are faced with intensifying financial burdens and being driven out of our city.
The City’s action to pass a Housing Action Plan is laudable – but the plan must become reality and the plan’s best prescriptions must be implemented with boldness to ensure that we begin to make meaningful progress in providing housing options at affordable rates for folks in our city.
The Challenges We Face
We see friends, family, and coworkers priced out of our area because we have a severe housing shortage.
Increasing supply will lower prices for all and expand the number of people who can live in Delta.
Opposition to housing is fiercest when residents face change with a mindset of fear, uncertainty, and protectionism. We must demonstrate the necessity of adding more housing in every neighbourhood — especially high-income neighbourhoods.
As the folks at Yes In New West have summed it up:
“It is important to note that it does not display a NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) disposition to simply voice concerns about issues such as parking, traffic, and shadows; indeed, local residents should have their concerns respectfully heard and addressed where possible. It does, however, reflect such a disposition to persist in those concerns once they have been addressed (and shown to be manageable) or where those concerns are taken to have greater precedence than the needs of those facing housing insecurity.”
We are faced with a climate crisis that will worsen in coming decades.
We need denser neighbourhoods to reduce urban sprawl, reduce water usage, use energy more efficiently, and create a smaller carbon footprint.
Ingrained assumptions about the primacy of the personal automobile have created major barriers to accessibility.
Adding people to all our neighbourhoods will encourage more walking and biking, make transit more efficient, reduce social isolation, and increase residents’ access to diverse cultural products and to each other.
Our businesses, non-profits, and essential services struggle to retain employees due to the high costs of housing in comparison with other municipalities.
Addressing our housing shortage increases access to jobs, supports diverse businesses, promotes innovation, and enables people to be more productive.a showcase of housing variety and inclusivity.
Change in Delta is Inevitable
Let's Decide What Outcomes We Want
Exclusive & Expensive
(the track we’re on)
- needs of private car users put first
- gradual densification is opposed in order to create scarcity/exclusivity
- single detached houses on 70% of land while multi-unit residences forced into a sliver of the available land
- maintain existing process of easy approval of teardowns to construct large single family homes while making it onerous and expensive to get approval for non-profits, purpose-built rentals, co-ops, and BC Housing projects to get built
- forbid the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Accessory Commercial Units (ACUs) except in a miniscule number of locations where coach houses are permitted under strict rules and at considerable cost and time
Inclusive & Diverse
(the track we need to get on)
- needs of people put first
- gradual densification is welcomed in order to create opportunity
- multi-unit residences are integrated into all single-detached neighbourhoods by amendment of zoning bylaw to permit
- expedited approvals for non-profits, purpose-built rentals, co-ops, and BC Housing projects so that it is comparable to the amount of time a house flipper needs to get approved to build luxury homes on single detached lots
- embracing the construction of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Accessory Commercial Units (ACUs) throughout the city to spark neighbourhood investment, aging-in-place, improved family connections, strengthen walkable neighbourhoods, increase options for entrepeneurs, etc.