For most people, our city has become a tough place to live. Everyone is on edge. It’s near impossible to find and afford rent or mortgages here. We see development and growth that is not benefiting us. Taxes are going up and services declining.
We are right to be angry. However, we need to take that anger and come together as a city to solve our problems.
We need to solve this crisis without losing Vancouver’s values of being an open inclusive society, welcoming and proud to be a place where all of our families have a fair shot at prosperity.
Vancouver is a city to be proud of. We can do so much more.
We need to do everything we can to bring people closer to their work and social life.
We need to break down the barriers to building more affordable homes near amenities and transit so that people can more conveniently walk, bike and use car shares much more than they can now.
While the current government talks a lot about the environment, they focus on excessive regulation, making it more difficult to get green initiatives off the ground. We need more incentives and tax breaks to help make these initiatives happen.
Over the past ten years, business and property taxes have swelled by more than 60%, and the size of government has increased by nearly 40%. The Vancouver government must be focussed on balancing its budget just as each of us do everyday. High taxes are driving small businesses out of our city.
We need to foster green innovation without the divisive rhetoric of the past ten years. And we can't talk about our housing crisis without talking about homelessness. Addressing homelessness requires compassion and smart government.
Marginalized communities won’t improve their standard of living by being ghettoized. We need to unpack ghettoized neighbourhoods and build much more welfare rate and subsidized housing in an economically sustainable manner.
Our city is at a crossroads. Our homelessness crisis has worsened over the past decade, and we must come together to address it.
Harm reduction is part of the solution, not the problem. We need to provide a continuum of services and housing for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues. Above all, we need to ensure we are turning nobody away from treatment or shelter.
A housing crisis like the one we are facing could make Vancouver choose to turn inwards, thinking that we could somehow erect Donald Trump-style walls to keep newcomers out, yearning for a time long past. This is not the kind of Vancouver we want. We want a Vancouver that is a truly open, free, welcoming and caring global city.
The solutions are at our fingertips. Finding these solutions starts by saying "Yes" to the values that hold us together; fairness, diversity, sustainability, safety and caring for those in need.
Let’s fight to stick together and solve our problems rather than fight each other.
Housing Policy Pillars
There is no silver bullet to solve our housing crisis and we need to act to add all types of housing to all areas of the market to help solve our crisis, with an emphasis on rental. As a start we have three main areas of focus:
Taking the lid off the city, with citywide pre-zoning
An end to the slow and wasteful piecemeal, building-by-building rezoning that comes before city council. This will be replaced by a citywide plan that pre-zones areas for middleclass families and economic development. This will remove speculation caused by scarcity, allow home builders to know the rules and give residents price and market certainty. This change will also take the politicians out of the approval process and reduce spending on wasted staff time and resources.
Using incentives and city-owned land to make a crisis level addition to middle class and affordable housing, where the market isn't providing it
The city will move to utilize 99 year leases on City owned land and partner with homebuilders and service providers to leverage development on city owned lands to add social and middle class housing the private sector market won’t build. The city will bonus density for rental project and work with other levels of government to create a third sector of affordable middle class market and rental housing throughout the city. Additionally, we will eliminate the red tape and high fees that prevent middleclass housing options, particularly rental, from being built.
Getting housing more quickly to those who need it, by capping permit wait times
The city will work to streamline the building approval process, to speed construction of new homes and move housing units to market faster. This will include the ability to prioritize social and family housing and include digital advances in permitting. City Hall will be partnering in getting middleclass projects approved and built.
Our platform is still in development, and we will be consulting our candidates and party members on specifics in the coming weeks.
Our platform will be based on some key principles, however:
- We must treat the housing and homelessness crises as our top priority, and we need to do everything we can to open up supply of new housing on an urgent basis.
- We must end any opportunity for corruption in the development process by having the same rules for everyone. No special treatment.
- We do not play the politics of division or class warfare.
- We need to keep taxes low.
- We need more transportation options for everyone.
- We need to take the best ideas from across the political spectrum.