Victoria, B.C. – Pete Fry, the B.C. Green Party candidate in the forthcoming provincial by-election in Vancouver–Mount Pleasant, and Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay–Gordon Head and Deputy Leader of the B.C. Green Party are calling for immediate action from the provincial government to address the housing crisis affecting Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
“The housing crisis affects more than those who are struggling to find affordable rental or buy their first home,” said Fry. “It also affects those who already own property in Vancouver and are seeing their communities hollowed-out. It affects those who watch their children and extended families leave our city because they can’t afford to live here. We’re now seeing how the crisis in affordable housing is cascading into a labour crisis that threatens our economy and viability of local small business.”
Earlier this month, VanCity Credit Union published a report that found that, between 2001 and 2014, Metro Vancouver housing costs increased 63 per cent, while salaries only rose 36.2 per cent. The median price of a home in Vancouver is already more than 11 times the median income of Vancouver residents.
“It is unacceptable that the provincial government is refusing to address the housing crisis,” said Andrew Weaver. “Jurisdictions around the world are rising to the challenge. Hong Kong has had a policy since 2010. Australia have been developing a taxation toolkit on both a federal and state level since 2013, and just this month New Zealand introduced measures to regulate foreign holdings and speculation. Its time for our provincial government to step up and immediately begin work to establish a solution that makes sense for B.C.”
There have been a growing number of calls for action on this issue. Last year the B.C. Chamber of Commerce called for the government to increase the property transfer tax rate on foreign buyers. More recently, The Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, proposed a new real estate tax on speculators and, just this weekend, Vancouver saw hundreds of people gather for the “#DontHave1Million” rally to call for action on housing affordability.
“The real tragedy with the provincial government's inaction is that we aren’t even collecting the information we need to know how best to tackle the housing crisis,” said Fry. “Their unwillingness to gather the essential information will mean that the costs to the residents of Vancouver will continue to rise. It’s time for the government to step up and get involved.”
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Oped by Pete Fry on housing crisis (Georgia Straight): http://www.straight.com/news/455161/pete-fry-tackling-roots-vancouvers-housing-affordability-crisis
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