(Wikimedia Commons)

UBCM makes 32 recommendations to make housing more affordable

Foreign-buyers tax, short-term rentals and control of ‘demovictions’ top the list

It’s looking like 2018 is going to be another year of poor housing affordability, with no forecasts showing much of a relief for British Columbians and their pocket books.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities is adding its ideas for solutions, in a new report released Thursday detailing 32 recommendations for the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

The strategy characterizes the current housing situation in British Columbia as a “crisis”, and states that all levels of government have failed to fully gauge the magnitude of the issue, the UBCM said in a news release.

“Our aim through this strategy is to focus the current discussion of housing policy on effective actions that can be implemented now,” Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore said.

Points of action focus on three key areas: rental housing, demand management and homelessness.

Highlighted points include calling on the province to allow rents to increase by a higher amount each year, as part of a renewed Residential Rehabilitation program, as well as allowing cities to refuse “demovictions” that result in evictions and require replacement rental housing before allowing the demolition to proceed.

The UBCM is also urging the province to hand over the power of zoning for affordable rental housing to local governments – a provision that has fallen within provincial jurisdiction for 25 years.

“The scale of the affordability crisis makes it clear that more is needed,” the UBCM’s report reads.

Other points of action include reforming the foreign-buyers tax by removing condo presale exemptions, penalizing rapid speculative resale and regulating short-term rentals.

Making property taxes more progressive by introducing a sliding scale of rates, the UBCM says, will recognize that residents in some areas will inevitably pay higher or lower tax rates on average.

As part of a “comprehensive homeless strategy,” the UBCM is also calling on BC Housing to support local government in ensuring facility operators of supportive housing and shelters meet contract agreements in how these spaces are operated.

“Local governments have the difficult job of finding a balance between community concerns and the need to provide for various forms of supportive housing and shelters,” the report reads, adding that when the operator does not honour those agreements, residents against housing the homeless argue the operators’ commitments are meaningless.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Campbell scores in OT as Leafs outlast Nitehawks 7-6

Nelson gave up three leads against rival Beaver Valley

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Applications sought for annual Nelson heritage award

Deadline for submissions is Oct. 30.

Playmor Junction daycare expansion faces opposition

Neighbours upset with rezoning application, citing traffic, noise and concerns about future uses

Trafalgar Thunder take gold in Oliver

The Thunder knocked out the top seed in the semis en route to gold

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Ocean ‘blob’ returns to B.C.’s North Coast

A 2,000 kilometre patch of warm ocean water could signal a warm winter in Prince Rupert

Most Read