Survey 3 – Summary Report
The third of the three surveys, Managing Growth, posed questions on: increasing housing units on commercial and institutional parcels; flexible zoning for residential properties; managing growth; conserving freshwater; and, adopting more progressive energy and universal design regulations. All but one question provided space for comments.
Background for Survey Three
Background for the third survey was provided in four documents: Growth on Gabriola (Appendix 8); Key Policies on Managing Growth on Gabriola Island (Appendix 9); a draft build-out map entitled Gabriola Island Development Potential 2021 DRAFT (Appendix 10); and, Information about the BC Energy Step Code and Universal Access Design (Appendix 11). A glossary of key terms was also provided. In brief:
- Gabriola has a population density of 69.7 persons per square kilometre, making it the second most densely populated of the Gulf Islands. The population of Gabriola according to the 2016 Census was 4,033, and growth was stagnant for the previous two census periods. However, the BC government’s Medical Services Plan health care coverage registrations record 4,415 people on Gabriola in 2020. This is an increase of 382 people, or 9.5%, since 2016.
- Several factors may impact growth: for example, changes to demographic issues like average household size, birth and death rates, and migration to and from Gabriola, as well as physical factors like the availability of lots to build on and the proportion of unoccupied dwellings, as well as how development is regulated through land use planning and development controls.
- Four growth scenarios (see Appendix 8) predict a regular resident population of between 4,631 and 6,632 people in the future. These scenarios are based on the number of lots that are currently undeveloped (490), subdivision potential (158 lots), and secondary suite potential (636). (Note that the scenarios do not take into account the roughly 1000 acres set aside for Treaty negotiations between the Snuneymuxw and the federal and provincial governments.) These scenarios also rely on assumptions about current household size and occupancy patterns. The date at which the population would grow to the numbers projected would be whenever all the potential for development is realized.
- The goals in Gabriola’s Official Community Plan (OCP) only explicitly mention the term “growth” once – stating that “gradual and appropriate” rather than “rapid” growth is to be encouraged. OCP policies and objectives speak to regulating the density that is already permitted through zoning. Anticipating or managing new growth (except for multi-family affordable housing) does not seem to be contemplated in the OCP, and particularly doing so in ways that would help to meet important social and environmental goals such as the need for affordable housing and the need to protect and preserve our Coastal Douglas-Fir ecosystem and groundwater.
- A variety of new policies or regulations could address the negative impacts of growth on Gabriola and address the need for affordable housing. These include: requiring new rezoning applications that propose an increase in residential density to meet more stringent environmental, building, and design guidelines and contribute to an increase in affordable housing stock; restricting small lot subdivision; requiring rainwater harvesting in new dwelling construction; creating a variety of flexible zoning regulations to increase the availability of affordable rental accommodation; requiring existing rental multi-family dwellings to remain as rental housing; and, allowing more residential density in commercial properties if rental tenure, affordability, and other conditions are met.
- Section 2.5 of the OCP establishes a Density Bank to allow the deposit of densities from lands rezoned as parks or from the voluntary donation of residential densities.
A total of 336 people responded to this survey, representing 1 response for every 11 Gabriolans over 19 years of age, based on population data from the 2016 Census. This is a slightly lower response rate than for the first survey. Not every respondent answered all questions.
In addition to the quantitative data collected, respondents shared 504 comments.
Question 1: Housing / Property Status
Q1: Please tell us your current housing / property ownership status on by choosing the category that applies to your situation (check all that apply):
The list of possible responses to this question was the same as for the first question in Survey 1. Respondents were able to check all categories that apply, so, for instance, a person could own property and be in a precarious housing situation.
336 respondents provided 336 responses to this question.
|Table 13: Respondents by Housing / Property Ownership Status|
|I own property and reside here full time||77%||260|
|I own property and reside here part time||4%||13|
|I own property and visit occasionally||0%||0|
|I own vacant property||1%||3|
|I own property which I rent out||1%||3|
|I am a renter and reside here full time||12%||41|
|I am a renter and reside here part time||0%||0|
|I do not have stable, safe, permanent, appropriate housing||1%||4|
|I live elsewhere but I work on Gabriola||0%||0|
|I have treaty rights to unceded land on Gabriola||0%||1|
|I prefer not to answer||1%||4|
|Other (please specify)||2%||7|
Chart 7 outlines the distribution for the three major groups: owners, renters and precariously housed.
This distribution closely resembles the distribution in the 2016 Census (83% owners / 17% renters). Although the 2016 Census provides information on those in core housing need (i.e., that spend over 30% of their income on shelter), it does not provide data on homelessness. The data indicates that just over 1% of respondents are in precarious housing situations. This is consistent with data from Gabriola’s 2020 Homelessness count.
The comments on this question tended to clarify the individual’s property status (e.g., length of residency, in process of moving from renting to owning) or added a category not included in the list (e.g., living with relatives).
Conclusions: Question 1
The profile of respondents is consistent with the 2016 population distribution.
Questions 2/3: Housing Units in Commercial and Institutional Zones
Current OCP policy (Section 3.1) allows for one single-dwelling residential unit per parcel in any Commercial designation. Questions 2 and 3 explore interest in expanding the number of units allowable in both commercial and institutional-zoned properties, and the conditions that would need to be met for such an expansion to be acceptable.
Q2: Would you support more flexible zoning for commercial and institutional parcels in order to incentivize the construction of rental or market housing units during redevelopment?
Respondents were given a choice of Yes, Maybe, depending on the level of flexibility in the zoning, and No, with an opportunity to indicate Other followed by comments.
There were 311 responses to this question and 23 comments. 27 people (8.7%) skipped this question.
Roughly 75% of respondents are either conditionally supportive (Maybe = 41%) or unequivocally supportive (Yes = 34%). Although only 18% indicated their lack of support by answering No, the qualitative responses from the 7.5% of respondents who chose Other are mostly unsupportive of this option. It would therefore be appropriate to categorize all of these together, as 25% who are not in support of this option.
There is not strong support for this proposition in the qualitative responses; support seems to be linked to utilizing flexible zoning only for affordable/rental housing (7). Additional concerns focus on lack of support for density increases (6) and a moratorium on any new building (3), and calls for no commercial/institutional development (2). Two commenters prefer to see more flexibility in allowing secondary suites instead of this option.
- “Commercial property development cannot be part of a density swap. Residential property should allow secondary suites on existing plans under 5 acres.”
- “The real question is: would such housing be affordable for people working in the commercial premises or would the housing just become ‘high rent’ rental revenue to supplement the revenue of the commercial operation? I’m OK with this as long as the rent is kept [commensurate] with the wages that are being paid on Gabriola, so that new rental units serve Gabriola’s workers.”
Q3: If you answered Yes or Maybe to Question 2, please indicate the conditions under which you would support more flexible zoning for commercial and institutional parcels to allow for more residential units per parcel. Please check all that apply.
Respondents were given six response options: ‘water sufficiency’; limits to floor area; restricting units to rental accommodation; protection of affordability; more information required; and, other.
There were 249 responses to this question including 28 comments (11.24%). Eighty-nine people (26.4%) skipped this question. The responses to this question are indicated in Chart 9 below.
The qualitative responses mirror the quantitative data. The majority of respondents expressed strong concerns about ensuring sufficiency of water and sewage disposal and concerns about density increases. The following quotes show the range of concerns:
- “Businesses should be encouraged to build rental units to attract employees.”
- “I do think that rental and affordability are critical but I do not believe that there should be a cap on density–that only forces prices up–density and development should be based on the ability and capability of the land for servicing.”
- “Limit the TOTAL floor area of dwellings (and/or the number of dwellings).”
Conclusions: Questions 2/3
Support for allowing an increased number of residential units in commercial or institutional zoned properties is conditional on water and an assurance that the units will remain as rental units with affordability guaranteed.
Question 4/5: Flexible Zoning in Residential Zones & Conditions
In most residential zones on Gabriola Island, one single family dwelling is permitted per parcel with no floor area maximum; in other words, there are no limits on the size of the dwelling. Questions 4 and 5 examine the potential for more flexible zoning to accommodate changing family needs (e.g., the need for an onsite caregiver, or accommodation for extended family) thereby allowing additional density on a parcel but with restrictions to floor areas and lot coverage being equal to or less than what is allowed for one traditional-sized, single-family dwelling.
Q4: Should the LTC consider looking at more flexible residential zoning regulations to allow for increased densities on a parcel under certain conditions?
Three hundred and eleven (311) people responded to this question, which garnered 61 comments. 27 people (8%) skipped this question.
As the chart below indicates, 53% of respondents support this option, 22% are uncertain, and 25% do not support this option.
The sentiments expressed in the 61 comments on this question are consistent with the responses to the quantitative questions. Commenters are particularly supportive of uses that accommodate family / relatives (7) and caregivers (5). Legalizing existing secondary suites to rent (6) on all lots is also popular. Water and septic provisions are important to five commenters as is environmental protection more generally (3). Commenters are supportive depending on lot size (5); dwelling size (3); and neighbourhood density (3). Three commenters would approve only if the rental is restricted to low-income affordability. Thirteen commenters, however, want no density increase whatsoever, although several would approve a suite in a house for a rental or caregiver provided there is no increase in density.
The following quotes illuminate the range of responses to this question:
- “Really depends on the size of the lot and the existing density on surrounding lots.”
- “Secondary suites should be allowed on condition that they are restricted to low-income affordability as the condition for allowing their use.”
- “Perhaps in combination with more restrictive sizes for single family dwellings.”
- “For family or to allow person to age in place.”
- “This is interesting, but I would worry about the amount of density per neighbourhood and the relationship with water.”
- “Not sure how this is a benefit that couldn’t be accomplished by allowing owners to create a legal secondary suite to rent out.”
Q5: If you answered Yes or Maybe to Question 4, please indicate the conditions under which you would support more flexible zoning for residential parcels to allow for more residential units per parcel. Please check all that apply.
Two hundred and thirty-four people responded to this question. 104 people (44.4%) skipped this question. There were 29 comments.
As shown in Chart 11 below, the dominant concern (92%) is ensuring sufficient water and sewage disposal to support any increase in density. 50% of respondents want limits on the maximum floor area of each dwelling if flexible zoning were to be allowed.
Responses to the other criteria are: putting limits on the number of accessory buildings allowed on a property (50%); ensuring that maximum lot coverage is equal to or less than zoning currently permits (47%); and, putting in place regulations to address sufficiency of parking and screening (44%). Again, it is important to note that one-third of respondents want the LTC to provide more information on this option.
Findings by Housing Status
Owner respondents are more likely than renters to support limits to maximum floor area (56%/40%), limits to the number of accessory buildings (50%/37%), and limits to maximum lot coverage (50%/37%).
The qualitative responses mirrored the quantitative data results. Although only about one quarter of respondents to question 4 indicated they are not supportive of flexible zoning, and although the overall response rate to that question was very high, about one-third of respondents chose to skip this question
Water, as usual, is important to virtually all of the respondents. There is uncertainty about how to limit buildings/lot coverage as well as house size. The commenters put environmental protection, especially that of trees, first (8); water and sewage adequacy are also important (4). Comments on density are varied and include: no rezoning (1); no density increases (2); no subdivisions (1); and, more residential parcels through density transfer only. Two commenters support the idea that higher densities are more sustainable, and one thinks increasing density would be feasible in some zones. One urged the reassessment of secondary suites on ALR land.
The following quotes shine a light on these perspectives:
- “I hope water and sewage in this survey leave open the possibilities of more rainwater harvesting and properly built composting toilets.”
- “Control tree loss where possible.”
- “I think it would be better to see more people living closely on a lot than a massive house with only one couple, etc. in it.”
- “Allow homeowners to manage their own property without interference.”
Conclusions: Questions 4/5
A bare majority of respondents (54%) unconditionally support flexible zoning in residential zones, and an additional 22% are undecided. As with other options a primary concern is water and sewage adequacy and the impact on the environment, especially trees. The size of dwellings/ lots and lot coverage are also important, especially for owners. There appears to have been some confusion as to whether ‘flex’ zoning would result in increased densities.
Question 6: Managing Growth
Q6: Please rate the following options for ensuring managed growth.
This question was intended to examine respondents’ interest in changing policies and regulations to manage growth.
There were 281 responses to this question; 57 people (17.1%) skipped. In addition, there were 183 comments. The options and relative weightings are outlined in the table below.
|Table 14: Support for Growth Management Options|
|Options||Strongly Agree||Agree||Disagree||Strongly Disagree|
|Maintain existing zoning and subdivision regulations||20%||23%||26%||11%|
|Develop new subdivision policies and regulations to include proof of potable water requirements that exceed the provincial requirement & include requirements for water storage.||42%||31%||9%||9%|
|Develop new subdivision policies and zoning regulations to reduce the potential for small residential lot creation||32%||26%||18%||13%|
|Develop new subdivision policies and regulations to restrict the maximum subdivision potential unless a % of lots in each subdivision are protected with a housing agreement to ensure affordability at time of sale and re-sale in perpetuity.||23%||27%||14%||16%|
As shown in Chart 12, when the options Strongly Support and Support are combined, the option with the highest support is “develop new subdivision policies and regulations to include proof of potable water requirements that exceed the provincial requirement & include requirements for water storage” (73%). This is followed by the option to “develop new subdivision policies and zoning regulations to reduce the potential for small residential lot creation” (58%).
The other two options both scored 50% or under: “require that new subdivision policies and regulations to restrict the maximum subdivision potential unless a percentage of lots in each subdivision are protected with a housing agreement to ensure affordability at time of sale and re-sale in perpetuity” (50%); and, “maintain existing zoning and subdivision regulations” (43%).
Findings by Housing Status
Owners are more likely than renters to support maintaining existing zoning and subdivision regulations (46% compared to 25%), and encouraging the LTC to develop new subdivision polices and zoning regulations to reduce the potential for small residential lots to be created (63% compared to 29% of renters).
Not surprisingly, 73% of renter respondents support new subdivision policies and regulations that could restrict the maximum subdivision potential unless a percentage of lots in each subdivision are protected with a housing agreement to ensure affordability at time of sale and re-sale in perpetuity. Only 46% of property owner respondents support this option.
There were 183 qualitative responses for Question 6.
- Maintaining Existing Zoning and Subdivision Regulations
The 39 qualitative comments on this option mirror the concerns expressed in the quantitative results about juxtaposing density increases and environmental protection with the need for affordable housing. Interestingly three respondents called for the OCP to be “redone”. The comments also mirror the nearly even distribution between those who want no change and those who feel some change is required.
Four commenters want no density increases; two want no subdivisions, and one no rezoning. Three commenters are in favour of strengthening the regulations and/or focusing on environmental protection. On the other hand, seven commenters see a need for flexibility and change and four want change to give priority to affordable or low-income housing.
The quotes below reflect these perspectives:
- “Clearly this is not working. Some change is needed.”
- “Not if they preclude innovative ways to create affordable or supportive housing to provide housing security for current working residents in unstable / insecure / unsafe housing situations.”
- “Any changes should be carefully considered because the potential impacts of allowing increased density could be significant for the environment and island culture. However, specific actions taken to increase rental housing (in perpetuity) would be beneficial. Even if it’s market rate, the creat[ion] of additional spaces will mean rent will decrease.”
- Increasing Proof of Water Requirements and Including Water Storage Requirements
Although this question has the highest number of positive responses and the lowest number of ‘unsure’ responses, the 52 comments made are divided between no change and strong support. Seven commenters want no new densities; three no subdivisions; one each for no building and no rezoning; and two want downzoning.
On the other side, 18 commenters are in favour of requiring rainwater storage for new buildings with encouragement for existing dwellings to add such systems. Seven commenters are either unsure about provincial regulations, or see them as being excessive, especially for small homes with one or two residents. Several commenters see no need to exceed the provincial regulations.
The following quotes illustrate these perspectives:
- “Require ALL properties to install rainwater systems. Phased in over 5-year period with incentives at first and penalties after 5 years for non-compliant houses.”
- “Rainwater harvested for greywater and blackwater usage may greatly reduce our impact on local resources. Who knows, it may even help when the grounds are dry in the summer and people continue discharging used water back to the land through sewage treatment systems.”
- “Water requirements sound high esp. for 1-2 people; definitely require water storage.”
- Creating New Policies and Regulations to Reduce Small Residential Lot Creation
42 comments were received for this option. A small majority of respondents support this option although there is some disagreement about the size of a “small” lot. Four commenters want lots no smaller than 1 acre; one no smaller than .5 hectare; and two no smaller than 1 hectare. Five support an increase with conditions such as: clustering dwellings; with parkland; with shared sewage and water services; for affordable housing; and, to accommodate tiny houses. Eight commenters want no new lots; six want no increase in density; one no subdivisions; and two support downzoning only.
The following quotes illuminate some of these concerns:
- “I think it would be better to do more with what we already have than create more lots. Many spread out small lots, all being developed is not good for the environment. More concentrated development with larger protected areas would be better.”
- “I would love to see increased density with shared sewer and water. Kinda gross the way it is now.”
- “I don’t know if this is likely anymore–and I guess it’s all in the definition of what “small” is. If you mean no further potential for subdivision of lots of any size (even on >5 acre lots) I don’t agree.”
- Creating New Policies and Regulations to Restrict Subdivision Potential Unless a Percentage are Protected with a Housing Agreement to Ensure Affordability
There were 50 comments for this option. The comments reflect considerable uncertainty about how to respond to this proposition. As in responses to other questions, increased density (10), subdivisions (4), and new housing (4) are all rejected. On the other hand, there is a clear desire to support increasing affordable housing, but uncertainty about the usefulness of this approach to accomplish that objective. Fourteen commenters expressed concerned about: the authority of the LTC to ensure conditions are met; legal issues; the feasibility of long-term enforcement of the provisions; and maintenance issues. Three commenters want to reduce regulations for developers, given the cost of building and the required amenity provisions.
The following quotes describe some of these perspectives:
- “[Subdivision] should be restricted AND provide affordable options.”
- “How can you ensure anything in perpetuity?”
- “No. This is a rat hole that is difficult to oversee and sure to be exploited.”
- “The cost of building is [exorbitant] and a housing agreement will not change the cost of building. Have the developer donate 10% of their allowable densities to the Density Bank.”
Conclusions: Question 6
There is comparatively little support for maintaining the status quo policy framework around managing growth. Instead, there is strong support for policies addressing water conservation and protection. As well, there is support for limiting the potential for the creation of small lots through subdivision. And although requiring provision of affordable housing as part of subdivision application received less support than the previous two options, almost 52% of respondents support this option.
Question 7: Voluntary Density Reduction
This question examines the variety of conditions under which property owners would consider contributing densities to the Density Bank.
Q7: If you own a property with subdivision potential or two adjacent lots, under what conditions would you consider voluntarily reducing the density potential through rezoning or lot consolidation? Please check all that apply.
Fifty-two people responded to this question, while 286 (85.1%) skipped.
Forty-four percent (44%) of respondents indicated that they would not consider voluntarily reducing density under any conditions. However, the remaining 56% indicated they would consider voluntarily reducing density if the densities are used for affordable housing elsewhere on the island (42%), or if application fees are waived by the LTC (12%).
Thirteen respondents chose Other, which required them to provide a written comment. The preferred option among those who wrote in a response is density transfer, as is the case in the qualitative responses. However, several prefer leaving the adjacent lot undeveloped and the density unused. One commenter who owns 5 adjacent lots pointed out that the financial loss associated with combining lots would be too great. The following comments illustrate these responses.
- “I own a lot and will inherit the lot next door. I intend to keep the inherited lot wild. I do not believe more density is even viable. I will not sell it so someone can build on it.”
- “Only if I could provide an affordable house for renting or purchase.”
- “I would suggest that this consolidation be encouraged, but that the density, although in the Density Bank, remain the property of the original owner and available for sale to owners of lots of sufficient size to be subdividable. This would encourage lot consolidation and reduce lot concentration for the benefit of sewage disposal and access to water.”
Conclusions: Question 7
It appears there is some appetite from over half of the property owners who responded to this question to consider consolidation of adjacent lots under certain conditions and for relinquishing densities if they are used for affordable housing. The waiving of LTC fees did not appear to be a critical consideration.
Questions 8/9: Population Growth Attitudes & Management Strategies
The next two questions examine the degree of comfort people have with the status quo policy approach to growth management, or with approaches that would either permit an increase in population or result in a decrease in population, and the regulatory strategies that should be considered to manage growth and its impacts.
Q8: Are you supportive of maintaining the current regulations that could result in maximum build-out?
Two hundred and seventy-six people responded to Question 8. Sixty-two people (18.5%) skipped this question.
53% of respondents support changes in regulation that would result in a decrease in population. 23% support maintaining the current regulations that could result in full build out. A slightly larger percentage (24%) support changes in regulations to permit an increase in the projected population.
Findings by Housing Status
Interestingly, more renters (42%) than owners (22%) support regulatory changes to allow an increase in population, while more owners (56%) than renters (29%) support regulatory changes that would result in a decrease in population.
There was no allowance for qualitative responses to this question; however, two comments in the following question regretted that there was no opportunity to comment on this question.
Q9: If you answered No to question 8, what regulations do you recommend the LTC review to manage growth and/or the impacts of growth? Please check all that apply.
Two hundred and four people responded to Question 9; 134 (40%) skipped the question. There were 58 responses in the Other category.
The three strategies for managing growth that received more than 50% support are: establishing minimum lot sizes for subdivisions (57%); establishing secondary suite regulations (54%); and requiring the inclusion of affordable housing (supported by a housing agreement) as part of subdivisions (52%). Two other options garnered less than 50% support: requiring that donation of densities to the Density Bank be used for the development of affordable housing (43%); and establishing floor area limits for dwellings (42%).
Findings by Housing Status
Owner respondents (59%) are more supportive than renters (43%) for minimum lot sizes for subdivisions. Not surprisingly, renters (91%) are much more supportive than owners (47%) for requirements for affordable housing as part of subdivision, more supportive (66%) than owners (40%) of the idea of requirements of donations of densities to the Density Bank for affordable housing.
Just under one third of respondents chose to comment, and several stated outright that there are no options they could support. There were 18 responses that want to see no more density or development: no increased growth (5); no subdivision (5); no density increase (5); no building (1); and, no (major) development (2). Seven commented on secondary suites, generally advocating for loosened requirements and the renovation of substandard dwellings. Four commenters would agree to an increase in density for affordable housing while two want to see it spread around the island. Two commenters want multi-family units; two support low-rise apartment buildings; two likewise for trailer parks; and, one each for tiny houses and town houses. Several commenters want to see no restrictions on private property (2) or no more regulations (1). The comments below illustrate the range of responses.
- “I don’t believe there is a way to decrease growth, but if there was, I would support it. Gabriola is already the densest of all Gulf Islands. Most of the above suggestions seem to actually be for increasing growth.”
- “Specific affordable housing projects paired with other reduced density bylaws to protect the environment while providing some housing.”
- “Require a minimum percentage of trees to stay on the land for any further private buildings.”
- “Loosen SS regs; reject requirements for affordable housing or donations but both could be encouraged.”
Conclusions: Questions 8/9
As Question 8 responses show, Gabriolans are split on the question of growth. Slightly over half of Gabriolans surveyed are supportive of degrowth strategies. Almost half support either the status quo approach (23%) or implementing regulations that would increase growth (24%).
Question 9, rather than focusing of strategies that would reduce growth (e.g., down-zoning of existing lots), focused instead on mitigating the impacts of growth while addressing housing needs. There is qualified support for all the options presented but establishing minimum lot sizes for subdivision, requiring the inclusion of affordable housing (supported by a housing agreement) as part of subdivisions, and regulating secondary suites are the most often chosen options.
Questions 10/11: Sources of Freshwater
These two questions were aimed at understanding Gabriolans’ freshwater sources.
Q10: What is your current source of freshwater? Please check all that apply.
Question 10 was answered by 279 respondents; 59 people (18%) skipped this question. Respondents were asked to check all sources that apply.
Eighty-one percent of respondents (226) indicated that they use well water; 51% (97) use rainwater collection; 8% (14) purchase bulk water; and 0.5% do not know the source of their water.
This question received 16 comments, which tended to highlight the need to purchase potable (drinking water) (4) rather than bulk water use:
- “I still buy my drinking water.”
Several commenters indicated they use rainwater for the garden and several indicated they have ample water supplies.
Q11: If you purchase bulk water, do you source your bulk water on island or off-island?
Fifty-six people responded to this question; 282 (84%) skipped it.
As the chart below indicates, the majority of those who purchase bulk water source it from on-island (59%) with another 11% using a combination of on- and off-island sources. 20% of respondents use only off-island sources.
Conclusions: Questions 10/11
The predominant source of water is wells followed by rainwater. Bulk water sales do not appear to be a significant source of water. What these data do not tell us is what combination of resources individual households use (e.g., only wells, or wells and rainwater collection). It appears that most people who bought water in bulk do so from on-island sources although it is not clear whether people are also including large refillable bottles of drinking water in the bulk water category, especially in question 11, given that about double the number of respondents answered question 11 than did those who indicated they purchased bulk water in question 10.
Questions 12/13: Rainwater Collection and Storage
These two questions were aimed at understanding Gabriolans’ attitudes to rainwater harvesting and their intended uses for collected rainwater.
Q12: Would you consider installing a rainwater collection and storage system?
Question 12 was answered by 217 people; 121 skipped (36.2%) the question.
A high percentage of respondents indicated that they would consider installing a rainwater collection and storage system (82%). An additional 12% are unsure and only 6% said they would not consider a rainwater system.
Q13: If you use or would consider using a rainwater collection and storage system, what do/would you use it for?
There were 252 responses to Question 13 and 86 skips (25.5%).
Over 60% of respondents indicated they would/do use rainwater for both potable and non-potable uses, followed by 35% who would/do only use it for non-potable purposes and 3% who would/do use rainwater for potable purposes.
There were 19 comments to this question. Most commenters use rainwater for non-potable purposes; several commented on the expense and difficulty of maintaining and monitoring treatments for potability. Several commenters pointed out that there was no option to indicate current use of a rainwater collection system.
- “Forcing people to collect/store rainwater will make houses cost more, not less.”
- “Would like to see reasonably priced set up and maintenance options, especially for older and disabled persons.”
Conclusions: Questions 12/13
Freshwater conservation has been a constant theme throughout the three surveys and a majority of Gabriolans depend on well water or a combination of well water, rainwater collection and bulk water purchases for both potable and non-potable needs. It is important to note that over 80% of respondents indicated they would consider installing a rainwater collection and storage system.
Question 14: Energy Step Code & Universal Access Design
The BC Energy Step Code will result in homes that use “net-zero energy”. The Code is voluntary but local governments may use it, if they wish, to incentivize or require a level of energy efficiency in new construction that goes beyond the requirements of the BC Building Code.
Q14: To what degree would you support regulations that would require new dwellings (approved through a rezoning) to be constructed to meet BC Energy Step Code requirements and Universal Access Design requirements?
This question was used to gauge respondents’ support for increasing energy efficiency and accessibility requirements in new residential construction.
There were 273 responses to this question, 65 skips (19.4%) and 67 comments.
The table below shows all responses to this question.
|Table 15: Support for BC Energy Step Code and Universal Design Requirements|
|Strongly Agree||Agree||Disagree||Strongly Disagree||Not Sure|
|BC Energy Step Code requirements||41%||30%||8%||6%||15%|
|Universal Design requirements||25%||31%||12%||9%||23%|
Over 70% of respondents indicated they Strongly Agree (41%) or Agree (30%) that new dwelling approved through a rezoning should be constructed to meet BC Energy Step Code requirements. Although only 14% of respondents indicated they Disagree or Strongly Disagree with this policy, 15% indicated they are Not Sure.
The question of implementing Universal Access Design requirements received less enthusiastic support with 56% indicating they Strongly Agree (25%) or Agree (31%), and 21% respondents indicating they Disagree or Strongly Disagree with this policy. Almost one-quarter (23 %) indicated they are Not sure.
There were 67 comments to this question: 33 for the Energy Code, and 34 for Universal Access Design. Many of the comments focused on the increased cost of building to the energy code requirements (11), some remarking that the impacts of the increased cost would have a particular effect on the affordability of housing. Some feel the current BC Building Code requirements are sufficient. Commenters noted that Universal Access requirements would also result in cost increases (5) and that current requirements are sufficient (3). There is also some opposition to making both BC Building Code and Universal Access requirements mandatory (9). The comments below reflect the responses:
- “Agree in principle but don’t think it should be mandatory.”
- “I agree in principle, but I also know this item can cause building to be more expensive (even modeling/proofing etc.) This needs to be balanced with the encouragement for building secondary suites, etc.”
- “The building code disables people from building something more affordable. Also, a sustainable dwelling needs an engineer and how can this make housing affordable.”
Conclusions: Question 14
There is stronger support for the early implementation of the BC Energy Step Code than for the Universal Access requirements. Concerns arose primarily around the cost implications for new construction.