Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

A shortage of urban planners could slow down the pace of housing construction

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The province has set housing construction targets within 5 years in 10 cities in British Columbia. Other cities should be affected. (Archive photo)


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Municipalities that must meet provincially imposed housing construction targets say the shortage of urban planners could make it difficult to reach those targets .

In September 2023, the province set construction targets for 10 municipalities. More than 60,000 new homes must be built over the next five years. Other cities will also be affected. We should know their names in the coming weeks.

However, four months after the process began, concerns are growing about the shortage of x27;urban planners. Yet these professionals are essential when it comes to building housing, explains Emilie Adin, president of the Planning Institute of British Columbia.

They play an essential role in the project approval process. They review the details of housing applications and building designs. However, according to Emilie Adin, there is a lack of planners in British Columbia, which does not bode well for the province's objectives.

She said the demand for urban and land use planners has increased across the province and it has been difficult to fill vacancies in this field.

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Our job offers increased by 93% between 2020 and 2021, assesses Emilie Adin.

Experts indicate that the shortage is due to the fact that fewer people are training for this profession, and that an increasing number of experienced planners are retiring.

We're seeing people leaving the profession, and at the same time we're not seeing enough people entering it, says Andreanne Doyon, director of the urban planning program at Simon Fraser University (SFU).

According to her, professional burnout partly explains this shortage.

It's hard work. We see a lot of these professionals working for maybe 10 years and then leaving the profession to do something else.

A quote from Andreanne Doyon, director of the urban planning program at Simon Fraser University

The SFU professor explains that the high cost of Life in British Columbia has also prompted many urban planners to seek work elsewhere in Canada.

Interest in graduate studies in urban planning has also declined among young professionals, she adds.

Diana Dilworth, City Councilwoman Port Moody, one of 10 municipalities on the list of those required to meet the province's ambitious housing plan, admits that the shortage of planners could have an impact on achieving the objectives set.

While the City of Port Moody is confident it will meet its goal, Diana Dilworth says other smaller cities will struggle to meet the city's goal. province on housing.

In November 2023, British Columbia also introduced legislation to increase the number of small collective housing units. By June 30, 2024, municipalities will have to modify zoning rules.

To support this change, the province has provided municipalities like Port Moody's resources, including $10 million in aid.

The problem is we don't really have the capacity to pull take full advantage of the tools and incentives that the province offers us, deplores Diana Dilworth.

With information from Belle Puri and Karin Larsen< /em>

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