Municipal Elections 2022 – The Housing & Real Estate Problems Facing The City Of Vancouver And How The Mayoral Candidates Are Addressing Them

The municipal elections are upon us and in another mayoral all candidates evening debate, the topic was one of the most important currently facing the city: housing.

The housing crisis, specifically the lack of affordable housing facing Metro Vancouver cities, has been top of mind on most voter’s minds in recent polls. Statistics Canada has named BC as the province with the highest rate of unaffordable housing in Canada.

All candidates generally agree that Vancouver needs more affordable housing, speeding up the permit process and increase density. According to Andrey Pavlov, a Simon Fraser University finance professor, shortening permit wait times and rezoning requests would reduce costs for developers. “Anything that removes the current obstacles to housing supply, so that it becomes easier, faster and cheaper to build a lot more housing in the long run,” Pavlov said.

The recent 90 minute debate echoed what the candidates have previously been campaigning on as by now their platforms are well-developed. Below is a summary from the debate on key issues on how the candidates plan to tackle the problem of housing affordability in Vancouver:

The most important housing motions to be put forward:
Kennedy Stewart: Change the housing target from 72,000 over 10 years to 220,000. Create a team to speed up decisions for large developments. Tougher renter protections and vacancy controls for new units. Use part of the empty homes tax for housing vulnerable women and children.
Mark Marissen: The creation of 136,000 new market and social housing units in the next decade. Expand zoning to allow 6-storey rentals and 4-storey strata throughout the city. Create a tent city run tent city for the homeless until homes can be built.
Ken Sim: Speed up permitting process to 1 year than the 6-10 currently facing developers to build a high rise apartment building. Double the co-ps in Vancouver within 4 years. Use development fees to create market housing.
Colleen Hardwick: Borrow $500m and build 2,000 affordable co-op units on city owned land for low, medium and high income housing. Consult with existing communities when planning affordable housing.
Fred Harding: Speed up permitting process by mandating maximum permit wait times and implement flat rate community amenity contributions (CACs) across the city. “Incentivize” the private sector to build the required housing for residents and immigrants.

Do we need to rezone as a means to provide more affordable housing?
Kennedy Stewart: Yes.
Mark Marissen: Yes.
Ken Sim: Yes.
Colleen Hardwick: No.

Is there a need for co-ops?
Kennedy Stewart: Yes – Has his own specific plans to be used as blueprints to maximize housing on existing city owned land.
Mark Marissen: Yes – Creation of a Vancouver Civic Housing Corporation that will target co-ops for young families in the city.
Ken Sim: Yes – Has his own specific plans to be used as blueprints to maximize housing on existing city owned land.
Colleen Hardwick: Yes – Has her own specific plans to be used as blueprints to maximize housing on existing city owned land.
Fred Harding: Yes – needs to “look at the books” before determining what the city can hand over.

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