In 2018, Nanaimo City Council endorsed the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Strategy (AHS). The AHS sets the priorities for the City of Nanaimo to address affordability across the housing continuum over the next ten years. Introducing an adaptable housing policy that requires a minimum percentage of residential units as part of a rezoning application to be either accessible or adaptable was identified as a medium term (3-5 year) priority of the AHS.
The City of Nanaimo currently has accessible parking requirements and rewards Schedule D density bonus points for developments where “at least 10% of the residential dwelling units meet all the accessibility requirements within the British Columbia Building Code 2012 (BCBC)”. The City does not otherwise have any adaptable or accessibility requirements with respect to residential housing.
The AHS includes the following actions related to an adaptable housing policy:
Following consultation with the development community and non-profit housing sector, propose minimum adaptable unit requirements for all new multiple unit dwellings.
Evaluate the viability of offering incentives for developers to supply a higher percentage of adaptable units.
Consider higher adaptable unit requirements for senior-oriented developments.
Develop an associated bylaw to implement the adaptable housing policy.
Promote financial assistance programs (e.g., Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) grant) for households to make modifications to their home for accessibility.
In 2019 the City of Nanaimo endorsed the Nanaimo Age Friendly Plan 2019 - 2023. Supporting the development of more attainable (affordable) and accessible housing for seniors in Nanaimo that are close to amenities is included as an objective within the Age Friendly Plan. The Age Friendly Plan also recommends reviewing “how the City of Nanaimo considers accessibility to ensure it meets the needs of an aging population.”