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Building boost? Province boasts Bill 20 changes; Calgary mayor says it won't do much


As Calgary continues to battle a housing crisis, the province is rolling out changes it says will help.

Changes within Bill 20 and to the city charters will provide property tax exemptions for non-profit housing providers and streamline building standards across Alberta by taking away a municipality's ability to require energy efficiency standards.

Ministers say it's a boost to municipalities everywhere:

"It is no surprise that affordable and attainable housing has become one of the most urgent concerns all across Canada," said Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver.

"We want to make sure that we are working with our partners at all levels to expand our housing supply and to keep Alberta's housing affordable," said Community and Social Services Minister Jason Nixon.

But many of these measures are already underway in Calgary.

Calgary's mayor says it won't do much:

"There's nothing new in this announcement. So, for anybody that was looking for something new or special, it's not there," said Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

What is new is an expansion of the community revitalization levy (CRL) program that allows a city to leverage future property tax revenue for financing upfront.

Calgary used the program to redevelop East Village, and now CRL money could be used for private housing projects such as office-to-residential conversions.

"This is old news. Community revitalization levees are very tricky tools that have to be considered in their entirety. So, to just say that we're going to be able to do CRLs all over the place doesn't work," Gondek said.

Calgary is in the middle of rolling out its own housing strategy, including a marathon meeting on proposed blanket rezoning.

Those representing developers say the additional tools are needed.

"With these amendments, the government is fostering transparency and accountability while ensuring that housing development remains a viable and sustainable endeavor," said Saheb Dullet of the Build Association of Alberta.

New stats show development is increasing in Calgary.

Through the first quarter, building permits were at their highest level in a decade, including nearly 2,500 permits in Calgary for residential projects. Top Stories

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