VCC Supports Citywide Zoning in Calgary

Read our letter of support for the proposed citywide rezoning to a base residential district

13 March 2024

The following is an excerpt of a letter of support we submitted to Calgary's Mayor and Council on March 13, 2024 in support of a proposal for citywide rezoning to a base residential district.

Access to affordable and appropriate housing decreases the likelihood that families and individuals will fall into or remain in poverty. Additionally, the availability of affordable housing is vital to accommodate the growing numbers our city is seeing. Rezoning would streamline and simplify the process of building different types of housing and reduce timelines for permit approvals in areas with already established transit and service infrastructure. 

Over the past few years, the urgency of increasing the supply of housing in our city has become very clear. According to the most recent CMHC Rental Market Report Calgary’s vacancy rate is an alarming 1.4% – the lowest it has been since 2014. The situation is even worse for homes in lower rent quartiles, with vacancy rates under 1%. Additionally, according to the most recent housing needs assessment, 114,470 households spend more than 30% of their income on housing in our city.

Zoning reforms are also essential to increase the percentage of non-market or social housing stock. Social housing represents just 2.6% of Calgary's housing stock, less than the national average of 3.5% and lower still compared to the OECD average of 6%. This lack of affordable housing has created a situation where about 115,000 Calgarians and 40,000 households are at extreme risk of homelessness. We are concerned that Housing Accelerator funding, distributed through CMHC to local governments for affordable housing could be at risk if Calgary does not permit changes to our zoning bylaws. 

Vibrant Communities Calgary’s staff are not zoning experts, but we know that affordable and diverse housing options are necessary for a vibrant city. We also hear stories of the struggles people are having with rental increases and the limited supply of rental options. We strongly believe rezoning is an important element in building the homes we need, and we urge Council to vote yes on this proposal. 

Calgary's in a housing crisis

Learn how you can tell Calgary City Council you support more housing in our city.