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B.C. to force higher-density development along transit lines

Agency will have authority to buy land along rail corridors
There have been “missed opportunities” to develop density along SkyTrain lines, B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming says. (TransLink photo)

With two new extensions of the SkyTrain system getting underway and home prices at record highs in the Lower Mainland, the B.C. government is moving to make sure development density follows transit lines as quickly as possible.

Transportation Minister Rob Fleming introduced changes to B.C. law Tuesday that will allow a provincial agency to buy and develop land along transit corridors for more than just the lines and stations themselves. The authority is already being extended for the planned expansion of SkyTrain from Surrey to Langley and the Broadway subway extension in Vancouver, and Fleming said the amendments to the Transportation Act will make that authority permanent.

The Canada Line development from Richmond to Vancouver saw “missed opportunities” to densify development around SkyTrain stations, Fleming told reporters April 5 after introducing the changes in the B.C. legislature. Rapid-bus plans in Kelowna and other transit projects around B.C. can also benefit from the changes, he said.

“Instead of enriching speculators and being the last one involved, losing control of the development of affordable housing, this is designed to give us much more control and collaboration with local governments to enter into partnerships with the non-profit housing sector to have below-market projects being part of building a compact, complete transit-oriented development community, and to work with the private sector as well,” Fleming said.

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