Housing quality, choice, and affordability are essential for a healthy, diverse, and prosperous community. Central Saanich recognizes our housing options need to be more diverse, and we are working to ensure the housing we add to the community meets includes the types of housing units that are needed. This includes encouraging more secondary suites, rental housing, missing middle housing (carriage houses, apartments, townhomes, duplexes, etc.), below-marketing housing, and more.
Owning a home has become unattainable for many; in fact, it is estimated the majority of homeowners in Central Saanich wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage on their current home if they had to purchase it at today’s market value.
The District’s housing strategy is to increase and diversify our housing stock through the infill and densification policies of the Official Community Plan. This strategy should serve our housing needs until 2036. Carefully managed growth can ensure greater physical and social health, while at the same time preserve agricultural lands and natural areas, increase efficiency of infrastructure, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve quality of life.
Diversity of housing types
In 2021 new housing policies and guidelines specific to infill housing were adopted to help meet our community’s evolving housing needs, including opportunities for affordable housing and options for seniors to age in place. This included regulations around small lots, accessory cottages and carriage houses, duplexes and more.
The single-family home is the dominant dwelling type in Central Saanich, with most having three or more bedrooms; however, the benchmark single detached home is unaffordable for many households.
There is a strong need for more rental housing to serve a range of income earners. Increasing the supply of purpose-built rental is a housing priority The District encourages development applications that include rental housing, particularly for seniors, and Central Saanich does not support the short-term vacation rental of residential properties, but rather encourage long-term rental to fulfil local housing needs.
The District will be exploring ways to incentivize more rental and affordable housing developments; watch this page for updates.
Accessory dwelling units/rentals
To help provide more housing options, “accessory dwelling units” are permitted in most residential zones. This means in addition to a single-family dwelling, you can have one accessory dwelling unit (this may be in the form of a secondary suite located within the principal dwelling or a detached cottage or carriage house). Building Permits are required to construct a new accessory dwelling or to legalize an existing unauthorized one.
The District will be exploring ways to incentivize more accessory dwelling units; watch this page for updates.
An ongoing project to allow more dwellings on Agricultural Lands is currently being explored.
Managing growth and land use
Our growth is focused within the Urban Containment Boundary (shown below and available in the OCP) in a way that enhances the village centres and business district, while protecting rural and agricultural areas. Of our land, 18% is within the Urban Containment Boundary. The District supports new development that is sensitive to its surrounding neighbourhood while providing the amenities and services needed in the community. Proposals that advance identified housing or community needs are encouraged. The District recognizes municipal infrastructure as capital investments that are provided for the benefit of the community and are managed in a cost-effective manner. Avoiding urban sprawl and focusing new infrastructure projects where there is highest demand ensures sustainable services to the community
Did you know 61% of District land is within the provincial Agricultural Land Reserve?