March 21, 2024

Town Addresses

Provincial Housing Changes

In response to recent provincial legislation changes aimed at increasing housing availability and density, the Town of Qualicum Beach is undertaking the significant task of updating its bylaws and policies to meet these new requirements.

The new legislation mandates changes across British Columbia to zoning and bylaws that impact housing density and short-term vacation rentals. To implement Bill 35, Bill 44 and Bill 46, the Town’s Planning Department is working to fully understand the changes and make the required revisions to the Town’s current zoning.

To create a robust set of design guidelines under a tight timeline, the Town's Planning Department is collaborating with a working group of local architects, planners, residential designers, developers, and environmental experts. This approach aims to maximize the benefits of the required changes while minimizing potential risks.

Bill 35 - Short-Term Vacation Rentals (STVR) is set to take effect on May 1, 2024, marking a significant shift in the regulatory landscape for short-term rentals. Under Bill 35, property owners will not be permitted to operate a STVR unless it is located on their primary residence. The operation may be in the primary residence, or in a secondary suite or accessory dwelling (laneway home, garden home etc.) on the owner’s principal residence. The legislation establishes a new provincial role in regulating STVR while providing local governments with stronger enforcement tools. The primary goal of Bill 35 is to regulate short-term rentals, converting more units into long-term rentals.

The Town's existing zoning regulations are currently more restrictive than the Province’s regulations and do not support STVR operations in residential zones, except for those designated as Bed and Breakfast establishments. Recognizing the need for STVR to support the tourism industry in Qualicum Beach, Council will consider broadening the existing regulations to permit some primary residences as permissible STVRs. The Town is not empowered to modify or exempt properties from the province's stipulation that only owner-occupied residences can be used as STVRs.

Bills 44 and 46 - Small-Scale Multi-Unit Housing (SSMUH) requires significant updates to the Town’s current zoning bylaws to adjust for housing density. These updates must be completed prior to June 30, 2024. While the changes will allow for infill housing on single-family and duplex parcels, the Town is working with policy tools to retain the character of Qualicum Beach neighbourhoods while still achieving the province’s housing objectives. The updated bylaws will be brought to Council in early May and will include changes to permitted density, maximum height, minimum setbacks, parking requirements, parcel coverage and other land use controls.

As an impact of the provincial legislation, the Town has delayed the Quality of Life Survey until late 2024, and the Official Community Plan (OCP) Review until 2025. The scope of the OCP review will also be affected. The province requires all municipalities to update their OCP and zoning bylaws with the mandated changes by December 31, 2025. Until Council approval of the updated bylaws and zoning amendments, the Town’s current policies remain in effect.

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  • Bill 35, 44, and 46 were given royal assent in November 2023.
  • The STVR legislation comes into effect for all municipalities on May 1, 2024.
  • The Bill 44 Housing Regulations requires the Town to update its zoning bylaws prior to June 30, 2024.


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