While not every candidate has stated a firm platform to deal with Vancouver’s struggle for affordable housing, some have declared significant programs if elected.
Hector Bremner is the only sitting counsellor running for mayor. He’s with Yes Vancouver and is promising to “increase the city’s home building target to 12,000 homes in the first year, subsequently raising it to 20,000 homes per year…” However, statistics show an average of 4,500 homes per year since 2011. Is it possible to increase the build by 270% in the first year?
Other candidates have lofty goals as well.
Independent Kennedy Stewart is looking to increase new builds by 85,000 over a ten year span, including rental and low income units.
ProVancouver’s mayoral candidate, David Chen, states his party is “concerned about the big numbers and even the ones the city has in its 10-year plan. We are concerned that there is no capacity to actually increase builds because the available workers are the choke point.”
Chen’s thoughts are to increase availability by up to 5,000 per year by utilizing modular housing units. He says this is a stop-gap measure.
NPA candidate Ken Sim didn’t have an elaborate platform, but did promise to bring “up to 40,000 new units within reach” for renting by allowing two suites per house.
Independent Shauna Sylvester goals are to have Vancouver become “the North American capital of co-ops and co-housing.” However her chief concern is to get the rental vacancy rate to at least 3%.
Coalition Vancouver candidate Wai Young says the priority should be building rental units and starter homes. David Cavey from Young’s campaign team said: “We are building faster than the population is growing and, more often than not, building the wrong type of housing. So, yes, the city is building too much housing.” They may be correct; row houses and townhouses made up less than three per cent of housing starts last year. Semi-detached units, including duplexes, were less than two per cent.
Vancouver 1st and candidate Fred Harding have not released a housing platform.
As one might expect, outgoing Mayors from surrounding districts have a few ideas regarding housing affordability.
Speaking at Urban Development Institute panel event September 20th, Greg Moore, outgoing Mayor of Port Coquitlam “One of the challenges of this election is that they are going to say, ‘We need more affordable housing and I’ve got the answer,’” said Moore. “We can’t really have a meaningful conversation about it. I hope that somehow, in the process, people peel that back. Because we know that there is no silver bullet. There’s no one reason how we got here, and no one solution to get out of it.”
While Moore did not single any candidate out, he did state “We’re seeing more politicians just checking which way the air is flowing, what’s populist, and just saying things to get big social media buzz, with no credibility behind them.
“I think that’s dangerous for all of us.”