B.C. facing pushback from latest cities added to housing target list

The B.C. government is facing growing pushback from some municipalities over its ambitious new housing targets.

On Tuesday, the province added 20 more cities to its list of municipalities it says need to build more housing.

That expanded list now includes Coquitlam, New Westminster, North Vancouver and Prince George.

Click to play video: 'Housing holdout Oak Bay approves condo project'

Housing holdout Oak Bay approves condo project

But the mayors of some of those cities are firing back, saying it’s the province that is not doing enough to help.

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“I’m calling BS on this priority list,” New Westminster Mayor Patrick Johnstone said Tuesday.

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“We are one of the few cities that is meeting and exceeding its regional growth strategy targets. We are doing our job as a city of getting housing built.”

Johnstone said a housing needs assessment found New Westminster was exceeding targets in new market housing, transit-oriented density and new rentals.

The only area it was falling short was subsidized and supportive housing — areas the city needs provincial dollars to make headway, he said.

“We have begged the province for more of it. I don’t know what else we can do as a city to get affordable housing built.”

Johnstone was not alone in his assessment.

Click to play video: 'Housing targets announced for ten B.C. municipalities'

Housing targets announced for ten B.C. municipalities

North Vancouver Mayor Linda Buchanan said her city is also beating regional growth targets.

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“We made it really clear to the minister in conversations that growth can’t be scaled up because we are given a target,” she told Global News.

In Coquitlam, which is facing rapid growth around the Evergreen Line, the concern goes beyond provincial targets.

Mayor Richard Stewart told Global News the new provincial government rules around housing types and density are having a negative effect on construction.

“We’re actually going to end up with less housing built than last year,” he said.

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon said many B.C. cities are doing good work, but that they still may need to be doing some things differently.

“The city of North Vancouver needs more affordable rentals … the city of New Westminster has been planning on 2011 numbers. The law has changed since 2011, and “We need to make sure whatever they are planning for is meeting the targets of today, not 2011,” he said.

The province is expected to release a report on the progress towards housing targets in the 10 cities initially placed on its so-called “naughty list” later this spring.

Specific targets for the 20 cities on the latest list are slated to be released in June.

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