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The role of the municipal, provincial and federal governments in the acquisition, development and disposition of residential serviced lots in the Greater Vancouver Regional District Matthieu, Germain Jean

Abstract

This study is an attempt to determine if a shortage of supply of serviced building lots, for development of single family dwellings in the Lower Mainland of B. C, relative to the demand for such lots, exists and to determine the role of the public sector in the assembly, development and disposition of serviced lots in the Metropolitan Vancouver area. To determine if a shortage of supply of serviced building lots exists, a theoretical market analysis of supply and demand provides a framework for the examination of empirical findings related to the supply and demand for housing units in Metropolitan Vancouver. Population figures in Metropolitan Vancouver are used to establish a level of demand. Supply is determined according to existing stock figures based on census data and dwelling unit starts for all categories of dwelling units in Metropolitan Vancouver between 1967 and 1973 as compiled by Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Given the projected population growth and housing formation and the total production of dwelling units, the analysis demonstrates that the supply is falling behind the demand. To determine if the public sector could play a role in the increase of supply of residential building lots, relevant factors reducing the supply production process are identified. A review of municipal powers is undertaken to determine if participation in the development process is possible. Three municipalities are selected to identify their policies with regard to the development of their land holdings far residential purposes. A categorized inventory of their land holdings is made to determine the amount of undeveloped lands under their control in relation to the amount of undeveloped lands in the Metropolitan Vancouver. It is possible to conclude that those municipalities retain most of their holdings for future planning consideration and dispose of a marginal part for profit purposes only. If such policies do not change, the District Municipalities of Burnaby and North Vancouver will affect the housing situation as they own 63% and 64% of all undeveloped land suitable for residential development within their boundaries. A review of the powers and the policies of the provincial and federal governments in the production process of residential building lots indicates that the provincial government does not want to compete with the private sector in such areas. The province is more interested in the production of multiple dwelling units for the people who are not reached by the private sector. However, the federal government provides financial assistance to any municipalities which want to develop its land holdings for residential purposes. Such assistance has not been used so far in Metropolitan Vancouver due to the lack of provincial co-ordination and also the strict requirements of such assistance. Such analysis of the three levels of government demonstrates that their different policies in regard to the production process of residential serviced lots have not contributed to reducing the existing shortage of residential building, lots in Metropolitan Vancouver.

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