New Westminster bedroom bylaw forces developers to build family homes

Starting next year, 10 per cent of the units in multi-family buildings in New Westminster must be three bedroom units and 20 per cent must be two bedroom units.

Mayor Jonathan Cote wants housing options that fit a variety of different age groups

Starting next year, 10 per cent of the units in multi-family buildings in New Westminster must be three bedroom units and 20 per cent must be two bedroom units. (Tourism New Westminster)

The City of New Westminster, B.C. will now require developers to meet a minimum percentage of two and three bedroom units in new buildings, after amending a bylaw this week.

"We're finding the majority of growth in our city is multi-family units and what we've seen recently is most of the new units are very small and are one bedroom and studio apartments," said Mayor Jonathan Cote, who recently moved from a single-family home to a condo.

Starting next year, 10 per cent of the units in multi-family buildings must be three bedroom units and 20 per cent two bedroom units.

Cote says they want to keep young families in their community but many may be moving elsewhere because it's too hard to find an affordable place that's large enough to live in.

"[We need] to make sure we've got housing options that fit a variety of different age groups, from single people living alone, to couples, all the way to those living in families."

Studios easier to flip

"We're not just about just building a development, we're trying to build neighbourhoods and communities." (newwestcity.ca)
Cote says as it stands now, most of the new developments are almost all one bedroom or studio apartments because they sell faster, are easier to flip, and are more attractive to investors. 

"We have worked with [developers] to do some market research showing there is demand for larger units and also to set the bylaw in place.

"A lot do recognize that ultimately if you are building more vibrant communities, those are more marketable places for developments."

The city says it will monitor the bylaw as it is rolled out and will make adjustments if necessary.

"We're not just about just building a development, we're trying to build neighbourhoods and communities."


To hear the full interview with New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote, listen to the audio labelled Three bedroom condos in New West.

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