(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

Two Nuxalk artists awarded YVR Art Foundation scholarships

Several Nuxalk artists have won the award, some more than once

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Concerns over democracy as Senate committee votes to nix oil tanker ban

Critics of the Senate’s recommendation to kill Bill C-48 say it goes against popular will

Open casting call issued for Trevor Mack’s first feature-length film

All Indigenous actors, preferably local Chilcotin people, are needed for Portraits From A Fire’s cast

New ferry to B.C.’s central coast sets sail, a year late and $20M over budget

Northern Sea Wolf will cost $76 million when it hits the waters in June

Killer of Calgary mother, daughter gets no parole for 50 years

A jury found Edward Downey guilty last year in the deaths of Sara Baillie, 34, and five-year-old Taliyah Marsman

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Is vegan food a human right? Ontario firefighter battling B.C. blaze argues it is

Adam Knauff says he had to go hungry some days because there was no vegan food

Winds helping in battle against fire threatening northern Alberta town

Nearly 5,000 people have cleared out of High Level and nearby First Nation

B.C. sends 267 firefighters to help battle Alberta wildfires

Out of control fires have forced evacuations in the province

LETTER: Fletcher ‘blurs reality’ on B.C. union public construction

Bridge, highway projects awarded to companies, not unions

Terrace hospital’s business plan approved

Health Minister’s announcement opens door to construction phase

Most Read