Letters to The Sun, November 9, 2021: Four Possible Affordable Housing Solutions

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There was a time when Canadian politicians had the right things. Vancouver Mayor Art Phillips, British Columbia Prime Minister Dave Barrett, and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau were politically determined to create innovative policies that would tackle the housing affordability crisis head-on. Mayor Phillips took bold action with a livability slogan called “vancouverism,” rather than tinkering with the edges simply by increasing the housing supply like Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s current plan to densify some single-family areas. More housing supply alone will not solve the affordability crisis, unless that increased supply is affordable.


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Bold politicians like Phillips, an investment banker, created South False Creek, with a mix of affordable progressive housing 1/3 for low income, 1/3 for middle income and 1/3 for higher income, in cooperation with the province. and the feds.

Today, the absurd and unbalanced housing market in Vancouver and other cities threatens to destabilize the economy and demands more ingenious policies from governments.

Here are four policy solutions that can work:

1. Develop public and city-owned land like the Langara Golf Course or the block north of City Hall with the same progressive housing mix, as Phillips did. Community lands for the community.

2. Apply a huge provincial speculation tax of 50 percent on land earnings to cool the housing market and hit the flippers, as Conservative Prime Minister Bill Davis did in Ontario in the 1970s.


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3. Introduce federal income tax incentives for the private sector to build affordable rental housing like the Pierre Trudeau Multi-Unit Residential Building Program.

4. And more controversially, they require large private sector developments of over five acres like Jericho, Marpole, St. Paul’s, Molson, Heather or Bayshore to provide the same progressive housing mix: 1/3 low, 1 / 3 medium and 1/3 for high income, which is closer to the real income mix in Vancouver. The mere scale of earnings at the top end can support housing at the bottom end, and the middle can support itself. Our progressive income tax rates currently do the same to balance income disparity.

Vancouver simply will not be a livable city if large developments do not house the full range of income in our community. There is no silver bullet, but these proposals can at least start to make a difference.


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Arny Wise, Retired Urban Planner / Developer, Vancouver

Congratulations on the Charlene Belleau column

Re: First Nations fighter feels closure could happen at residential schools

His wisdom in dealing with pain in dark historical events that can never be corrected is true of all people. History cannot be changed, but it teaches us how to create a better future for all. His comments ring truer than any other promoted by the media. It is appropriate that these experiences are heard more widely.

Silvia Dyck, Chilliwack

The feds should say no to the Deltaport project

The disaster that took place on October 22 near the southern tip of Vancouver Island when a container ship heading to Deltaport at Roberts Bank lost more than 100 containers offshore should be a wake-up call. We may never know the extent of environmental damage caused. It is already clear that it is going to be significant. But we can learn from it.


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A project is currently being considered for approval by the federal government that exponentially increases the risk of this happening again, as well as posing an irreversible threat to the Fraser Estuary. The Deltaport Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project will triple the capacity of the current terminal. The project has already proven to be unnecessary from a business point of view and, if approved, will destroy more than 1,000 hectares of habitat that is already seriously threatened by commercial and urban activity. The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project has been condemned by scientists at Environment and Climate Change Canada who have said that the project’s impacts on biofilm (a critical food source for millions of shorebirds) “are anticipated to be huge. magnitude, permanent, irreversible and continuous. . “In addition, it will triple the number of container trucks and trains, contributing to increased air and noise pollution in an already stressed environment.

The Fraser Estuary is a unique and critically essential habitat. Once destroyed, there is no going back. Wildlife and its environment belong to all of us. The federal government can show its commitment to the environment by saying no to the Deltaport Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project.

Debra Probert, Tsawwassen

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