Premier David Eby says the province is streamlining the housing permit approval process to help tackle the housing crisis by spurring home construction. Eby says his government is creating a single hub for developers to get provincial approval for their projects in a move aimed at reducing the approval time to a few months. It will replace the current process where homebuilding authorizations can require multiple provincial permit applications across separate ministries, which can sometimes take up to two years for approval. Eby says 42 new full-time staff will be hired to identify the highest-priority housing and will steer those through the process quickly and efficiently — and once those positions are filled the team can be increased to 203 positions.
Two tenants of a Vancouver apartment have been ordered to pay the building’s owner more than half-a-million dollars to cover damages caused by a fire that broke out in November 2017. BC Supreme Court Justice Matthew Kirchner ruled Angela Chou created an unreasonable risk of harm of fire by keeping the unit “in a near-hoarding state” with densely packed items covering most of the floor space. The ruling also covers Chou’s former partner Danny Chen, who was not living at the apartment but was still listed as a tenant. Chen was also ordered to pay 56-thousand dollars to Langara Gardens for the rent lost while 10 units were repaired.
The BC Government Employees Union says it has reached a tentative contract with the provincial Health Employers Association covering more than 21-thousand community health workers. The union says the agreement was reached early Sunday after nearly a year of negotiations and makes progress toward closing the pay gap between its members and workers in other health settings. Full details of the contract are to be shared with members in the coming weeks as the union prepares for a ratification vote before the end of next month. The contract covers workers who are employed in many community settings, including private homes, group homes, supported employment programs, child development centres, adult day programs and mental-health centres.
BC’s police watchdog says it’s investigating an incident in Kitimat where a robbery suspect was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The Independent Investigations Office says the RCMP said the injury occurred early Friday morning after officers responded to a report of a break and enter at a local business. It says a man believed to be a suspect in the theft was located nearby and he was injured while attempting to leave the area. The office says it’s investigating to determine whether police actions or inactions are linked to the man’s injuries.
RCMP say the crash of two BMW’s going 65 kilometres an hour over the speed limit in North Vancouver on the weekend highlights the dangers of street racing. The Mounties say a traffic unit spotted the two vehicles racing on Highway One early yesterday going 145 kilometres an hour in an 80 zone. They say officers followed with the plan to conduct a traffic stop, but the vehicles had crashed into street poles and concrete barriers as their drivers tried to exit the highway. Police say no one was hurt, but the two drivers in their 20’s are facing tickets totalling more than 15-hundred dollars and both vehicles may be written off due to the extent of damage.