Housing has become increasingly out of reach for Vancouverites. Prices keep climbing and rents continue to rise. Bold action is needed to address the housing crisis.
Zone for the Homes Vancouver Needs
Vancouver has a critical shortage of rentals units. CMHC figures show a vacancy rate below 1%. There simply aren't enough homes available at any price point. Renters compete against renters for scarce apartments, pushing rents ever higher. Yet in the face of this, the city makes apartments illegal in more than 70% of the city. Where multifamily housing has been allowed to be built, it has been shoved into the lower income and already dense areas of the city and polluted arterials, fueling gentrification and displacement. After more than a decade of a tight rental market, Vision has done little to legalize the homes Vancouver needs. We need to fix the rental crisis immediately. Home ownership will be forever out of reach, at any price, if people can't save because all their income goes to rent. If elected I will immediately move to end the prohibition of apartments on any residential land.
End Costly Delays
As the housing crisis mounted, the time required to get city approval to build has gotten longer and longer. We can not solve the housing crisis if needed social and market housing languishes in permitting limbo. Housing delayed is housing denied. I will speed up permitting by hiring enough staff to clear the backlog and streamline the process. I will push for a comprehensive review of all components of the permitting process, in order to ensure regulations and processes truly serve the people of Vancouver’s needs, including the need for available and affordable housing. City Hall has added requirement after requirement for new housing, which has created a byzantine patch work of conflicting and overly complicated rules. I will work to create a unified framework that adds clarity and streamlines the process.
By getting the zoning right, we avoid forcing needed, new homes, through a time consuming and costly rezoning process. I will work to create an expedited approval process for non-market housing and buildings with proven designs.
Build Social and Below Market Housing
The market alone will not meet everyone's housing needs. Government needs to ensure adequate housing is available to those not served by the market. I will work with other levels of government and non-government entities to build social and non-market housing. High land costs are a major impediment to cost effective housing. The City of Vancouver can address these cost by harnessing its significant land holdings to provide low cost land for social and below market housing. I will work to create an expedited approval process for non-market housing, so these project will no longer face years of delays.
Being able to quickly and easily get from one part of Vancouver to another is a critical to a well functioning city. But Vancouverites are finding it ever more difficult to get around the city. The average person loses more than a full day of their year, stuck in congestion. It is not just drivers who are suffering. Transit riders are stuck on over crowded busses, sitting in gridlock. Poor leadership on transportation has lead to unnecessary antagonism between those who drive and those who walk, bike or transit. A proper multi-modal transportation system, has each component compliment each other, without conflict. That is why I am committed to fixing Vancouver’s transportation system.
Building Compact Communities to Live and Work in
The best transportation plan is a good land use plan. When people live near work and amenities. By building complete communities where people can live, work and enjoy amenities, we give people the option of travelling by methods other than car or transit, relieving pressure on our transportation network.
Direct CACs to Building High Capacity Transportation
As a City Councillor I will push for a portion of the Community Amenity Contributions [CACs] to expanding transportation infrastructure. As the city grows, so does its transportation needs. CACs capture some of the land value lift from zoning changes. We can harness these land value lifts to fund significant transportation investments.
Transparent and Responsive Government
The people of Vancouver feel their City Government no longer open and transparent.
Take the Backroom Dealings Out of Development
Vancouverites have lost faith in City Hall’s handling of development. And who can blame them? With so much of the process happening behind closed doors and subject to discretionary decision making, the process appears uncertain, unaccountable and corrupt. I will seek to limit the amount of discretionary decision making, so communities and builders know what to expect.
I will seek to end negotiated community amenity contributions. Developers will have to pay fixed CAC that cannot be negotiated down. For areas that are prezoned, I will move to merge CACs with the Developer Cost Levies into a single fixed fee.
Too often communities see developers give a big cheque to city hall but little to no amenities be built. Information about money taken in and amenities received should be readily accessible by the public, so communities can be assured they are receiving the value of amenities they were promised.
Getting Value From Your Tax Dollars
Despite the rising tax burden, the people of Vancouver have not seen a commensurate rise in service. Taxes are important, they are how we pay for what our city needs. But we need to ensure that Vancouverites are getting a fair deal and receiving value for the money they contribute to the city government. I will push for a comprehensive review of all city government function, to ensure we are getting value for dollars and will reform those which are not.