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B.C.'s government buys land for transit-oriented housing development

British Columbia's government is taking significant steps towards addressing housing affordability and improving transit access with a new initiative unfolding on Vancouver Island.

Premier David Eby has unveiled plans for a bold public development project known as the Uptown development in Saanich, B.C. This initiative aims to create more affordable housing options within close proximity to transit services.

Through the Transportation Ministry's property acquisition fund, the province has acquired two parcels of land for this ambitious endeavor, investing $394 million in the effort. The recent purchase of these properties, totaling $9.3 million, marks the initial phase of the project.

The vision for the Uptown development encompasses the construction of numerous new residences, as well as spaces for retail and commercial activities. Additionally, the plan includes the potential incorporation of essential amenities such as childcare facilities, public areas, and a transit hub.

Premier Eby emphasized the necessity of government intervention in real estate development to counteract a troubling trend. He highlighted a paradox wherein individuals reliant on public transit often face challenges affording homes in close proximity to transit options due to escalating property values.

Under this initiative, the government will maintain ownership of the acquired land, while housing development will be carried out through leaseholds or rental agreements. However, the specific mix of housing options has yet to be finalized.

Eby articulated the significance of government involvement in land acquisition near transit hubs, citing its potential to influence development in a manner supportive of transit users' housing needs. By proactively purchasing land in these strategic locations, the government aims to mitigate the tendency for housing costs to skyrocket in such areas.

The announcement of this development plan signals a proactive approach by the provincial government to address housing affordability and transit accessibility challenges simultaneously. However, no concrete timeline for the construction or completion of the Uptown development has been provided at this stage.

As discussions progress and plans evolve, the Uptown development stands as a testament to British Columbia's commitment to fostering inclusive, transit-oriented communities where residents can live, work, and thrive.



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