It’s great to see that Gregor Robertson is now proposing policies advocated strongly by COPE in the 2014 civic election campaign, recently writing to his supporters with the news that “Housing affordability is one of the most urgent challenges facing our city and our region” and that he is “For close to a year, I’ve been proposing three significant new steps:”
1. A speculation tax: To slow down the practice of flipping houses, which treats housing as a commodity and intensifies the price escalation.
2. A luxury housing tax: To ensure that the very wealthiest buyers or investors pay an added price, which (like a speculation tax) would raise new funds to make housing more affordable for those on low and modest incomes.
3. Far better tracking of data on international investment and absentee ownership from both the Federal and Provincial governments, and a substantially expanded commitment at all levels of government to invest in new affordable housing throughout Metro Vancouver.
This is good news. But as 2014 COPE Council Candidate Gayle Gavin points out “To suggest the matter can be solved only by federal or provincial intervention is totally bogus. The solution is not to tax speculators. It is to stop this highly inflationary speculation of our human need for housing…Vision Vancouver controls whether and to what extent housing in Vancouver is built and offered as a speculative venture or is built for rental housing for residents of the City.” And 2014 COPE Council Candidate Wilson Munoz adds “After seeing the loss of the affordable housing around the Russian Hall and the town homes complex near Cambie and Marine Drive across from Dennis, the Mayor and the whole City Council are a disgrace to the People of Vancouver. It is for sure that Developers are filling up their big pockets with Vision’s support.”
And we also need to see Mr Robertson and his team come round on many other issues. For example:
Take action to protect our Chinatown community from the pressures of rampant gentrification which is forcing out the traditional community – and especially its seniors. The Tyee is taking note of “a new generation of organizers” some of whom joined us at our recent Issues Meeting.
Ensure that the land which will be freed up by removal of the viaducts is used for the benefit of the local community by providing affordable housing and community services rather than as yet another give-away (or pay-back) to the big development corporations which funded Vision’s election expenses.