My answers to your questions are below. Please let me know if you have any additional questions or concerns.
1. What do you see as the main housing challenges facing Vancouver?
Affordability. The average person is no longer able to afford the purchase of an apartment or a house. Even worse is the situation for people who are homeless.
2. What measures do you propose to address those challenges?
If elected I will propose the creation of a blue-ribbon committee to determine whether or not Vancouver taxpayers are getting good value for money from Vancouver City Council’s property endowment fund. This fund is worth over 1 billion dollars. I believe that the City of Vancouver could be using it to build social housing at no cost to the taxpayer.
3. What is your policy on housing densification?
As my mentor the late Councillor Harry Rankin said, “If it was not for development we would all be living in caves.” For me the question is not for or against development, but development for who — development for the benefit of the developer, or development for the benefit of the people who will live in it and for the benefit of the neighbourhood around it. I would like to see City Council empower neighbourhood councils to make all rezoning decisions that are above a certain size. I am not opposed to higher densification per se. It is the negatives that come with higher densification that I am concerned about, in particular, traffic congestion. We need to look at ways to allow developers to build car-free accommodation.
4. Would you support policies that would lead to a drop in real estate values?
People who already own homes would be unfairly hurt by a policy that would lead to a drop in real-estate values. If the current homeowner has taken out a mortgage for say 90% of the worth of their home, and values then drop by 10%, the homeowner has lost 100% of her or his equity. I am strongly supportive of policies that would bring new housing to market at below market cost.
5. What is your own family’s housing situation?
I am very fortunate. My partner Penny and I purchased our home in 1988. It came with some wonderful tenants for whom we have not raised the rent once since 1988.
[This post is not to be seen as a VREAA endorsement of any of the above positions. See ‘Policies On Housing’ – The Positions Of Local Entities On The Challenges Facing Vancouver Housing’ for an introduction/rationale for this series.]