Victoria is one of the country’s most unaffordable cities.

The current council had a very consistent habit of turning down developers’ plans for more housing in this municipality.

This drove many developers to other townships.

A lack of supply for our ever-growing population has caused an unnecessary increase in cost of housing.

Make no mistake, “missing middle housing” is a disaster that will only price more and more Victorians out of the market (more below).

Many areas in Victoria already have density. Developers have proposed projects to intelligently increase density according to existing zoning codes.

The Official Community Plan (OCP) for Victoria municipality took ten years to create and had input — and majority agreement — from every neighbourhood’s representatives. It cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to complete and should be the “rules of the game” for developers. But the council turned them down too often and many have left the city. As a result, Victoria did not get its much needed supply boost.

Official Community Plan for Victoria municipality

New construction would have to fit the character and style of the neighbourhood and be approved by council. If developers were confident that council would not turn them down for projects that obeyed density codes in the OCP, they would flood back to Victoria to create a large development trend that would ease the tension between the supply and demand. Which would curb the now 20% year over year increase in housing costs Victorians are suffering from. I’ve been told by developers that we could see as much as 3 or 4 thousand more doors in the municipality in just 4 years if council allowed developers to work.


When looking at the OCP you’ll see areas designated in yellow. These are “traditional residential” zones that are single family homes. James Bay, Fairfield, Gonzales and Oaklands neighbourhoods are predominantly yellow. It is not allowed to densify above 2.5 stories or to create multi-unit complexes in these zones IF THEY ARE NOT ALONG ARTERIAL OR SECONDARY ARTERIAL ROADS.

click to enlarge

Main arterials are streets such as Douglas, Bay and Blanshard. Secondary arterials are streets such as Yates, Quadra and bottom of Cook Street. See the map below for the road network from the OCP. The current zoning does not allow for creating density in the traditional residential zones away from the major road arteries. I seek to only allow OCP compliant projects to go forward. I feel that if we successfully allowed the housing boom in already densified areas, the fervor for missing middle would go away. It certainly would not happen on my watch.

Proponents of “missing middle” claim it would create affordable spaces for Victorians. Unfortunately, it dramatically increases the cost per square foot of any given lot, creating space for rich out-of-towners to come in and price regular Victorians out of the market even more. Case in point the Heywood Avenue project. Below is a picture of the two residential properties (at the time worth under $1 million each) that were purchased some 8 or so years ago in order to create a 20 unit condo structure (in line with this area which is already lined with apartment complexes).

Fast forward and you have a 20 unit development in which a 659 square foot bachelor pad will run you $900,000. And if you want two or more bedrooms you’re inching towards the $1.5 million mark. If you couldn’t afford the original market value of the single family homes on Heywood, you cannot afford the bachelor or above units in this complex.

Furthermore, the traditional single family home neighbourhoods could not all accommodate underground parking and therefore parking nightmares would ensue. Missing middle enriches the property owner and the developing firm, but it pushes more and more families and new owners out of these neighbourhoods.

Light Rail Transit

In 2020 a new cost study was performed on the Island Railway corridor (see below). Full conversion into a commuter rail system that would run between the westshore and downtown Victoria was estimated to cost $600 million. With reliable commute times it would be feasible to live on the westshore (and therefore pay westshore cost of living) and work in Victoria (making big city wages). Effectively being another weapon in helping residents with affordability. Recently the B.C. provincial government ear marked nearly $900 million for a renovation to the Royal BC Museum. If the provincial purse holders can spend nearly one billion on an unnessential project, they could conceivably redirect this cash flow to something the south island has desperately needed for decades.

Increased Rental Units

Red-tape is holding many home owners from placing in-house and garden suites on the market. For example, placing a full amenity suite in the back of your property (garden suite) requires the home owner to connect the suite directly to the city’s mainline sewage and water services. Costing tens of thousands of dollars and often discouraging the owner. It is far less expensive to connect suites directly to the existing home plumbing system.

Rent caps are a terrible idea because home owners are not allowed to pass on raising cost of housing to the renter. When interest rates hike, the owner’s mortgage cost also hikes. When carbon taxes are increased, so is the owner’s cost of maintenance and utilities. Caps prevent owners from keeping up with the cost of living and therefore often motivates them to either sell the rental property or use it for short term rentals instead (AirBnB). Either way, a rental unit falls off the market. Decreased supply means increased cost of rentals.

No Natural Gas of Fossil Fuels in Home Construction in 2025

Recently the city council placed a ban on homes being fitted with natural gas or other fossil fuels for energy consumption starting in 2025. This will only increase the cost of living as natural gas alleviates people’s energy costs. Further, it will tax our electrical grid to unprecedented degrees which will inevitably drive the cost of hydroelectricity higher and higher. This is a no-win situation for the affordability issues Victorians already face.


PROPOSAL 1: Honouring the existing zoning as laid out in the Official Community Plan (OCP) to allow a housing boom to ease the rising cost of home ownership in Victoria. This means NO TO MISSING MIDDLE HOUSING INITIATIVES.

PROPOSAL 2: Aggressively push for the province to move ahead with construction of a light rail transit system between the westshore communities and downtown Victoria.

PROPOSAL 3: Remove costly red tape regulations to incentivize owners to increase rental units on their properties. This would include the removal of rent caps.

PROPOSAL 4: Reverse the 2025 ban on homes being “carbon free” in their energy needs. Help Victorians keep their cost of living low!

Please consider me and my www.vivavictoria.ca teammates this election,

Emmanuel V. Parenteau

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