B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)

BC VOTES 2020: Where the parties stand on housing affordability ahead of Oct. 24

Snap election has led to a short campaign; here’s the lowdown on the platforms

As British Columbians struggle financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, all three of B.C.’s major parties have released housing affordability promises in an attempt to woo voters.

BC NDP

The incumbent NDP have promised a 10-year Homes For B.C. plan to “to build and revitalize affordable homes for everyone from students to seniors.” As part of that plan, the NDP vowed to build 114,000 affordable rental and supportive homes across the province, 25,000 of which they say are already completed or currently being built. The party said 5,000 of the units will be supportive housing, and that rent supplements will be paid out to people ready to leave supporting housing.

The party has also pledged to extend the current rent freeze, in place until Dec. 1 due to the pandemic, up until the end of 2021. The NDP have also said they will cap rent increases in future years to inflation.

For households with an income of up to $80,000 annually, the party will also provide a $400 renters rebate if they are not receiving another form of rental aid.

Developers have been promised that the NDP will “streamline and modernize housing construction” by nixing minimum parking requirements for housing built near transit. The party will also bring in a single-window provincial permitting process and work with municipal governments to make the local approval process simpler.

People living in stratas have been promised that a public insurance option will be developed if a solution to sky-rocketing costs is not found by the end of 2021.

For B.C’s indigenous community, the NDP said it will build the units remaining in its prior $550 million commitment to develop 1,750 new homes, both on and off reserve.

BC Liberals

On the BC Liberal side of the aisle, the party said they will do better than the NDP, which the Liberals accuse of having completed just 2,963 units out the promised 114,000. The BC Liberals have pledged to get rid of the NDP’s “phoney” speculation tax by bringing in what they dub a “true real-estate speculation tax,” which will involve moving to a condo-flipping capital gains tax. The Liberals also said they will bring in higher property taxes for non-resident home owners.

In terms of strata insurance, the Liberals said they will facilitate a self-insurance model and eliminate “best-terms” pricing. The party also said it will reduce required insurance from full replacement value to a level “in line with actual claims cost history.”

The BC Liberals said they will work with municipalities to review current property taxes to incentivize developers to build affordable rental housing, as well as bring in an “incentive fund” for local governments. The party also said it would make sure there was no net loss ff rental units due to developer projects.

Further, the Liberals said they would implement tax and permitting changes they say will boost housing supply. The party said it will also spend funds to get homeless people in B.C. into housing and connect them with social services.

BC Greens

For their part, the BC Greens said they will bring in a “housing first” approach to speed up supportive and social housing projects. The party said it will also extend leases for co-ops and create a land bank for future co-ops. The Greens also said they will work with municipalities to expand townhouses and triplex housing option and deal with the current issues in strata insurance costs.

The party has said it will close loopholes in speculation tax that currently exempt satellite families and some foreign owners.

On the rental affordability front, the BC Greens said they will establish a means-tested grant for low to moderate income households paying more than 30 per cent of their income in rent, as well as introduce a capital fund to support the buying and maintaining of rental housing by non-profits.

READ MORE: B.C. party leaders talk taxes, housing at board of trade event


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC politicsBC Votes 2020

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mayor Walt Cobb waves from atop a tractor as he turns onto Oliver Street in the Daybreak Rotary’s annual Stampede Parade. Patrick Davies photo.
Lack of funding, volunteers has Daybreak Rotary bowing out of Williams Lake Stampede parade

Club learned this week it won’t be receiving local government funding, for the second year in a row

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

Williams Lake’s Brock Hoyer films a segment of the newly-released The Way Home in the city of Revelstoke. (Ryen Dunford photo)
Brock Hoyer stars in new snowbike film: The Way Home

The film is completely free and was released on YouTube on Jan. 22, 2021

The body of Kenneth Seymour Michell was discovered Jan. 14, 2021, behind a Williams Lake business a day after he was released by a judge on conditions. (Photo submitted)
Family looks for answers after Indigenous man dies by suicide following release from custody

System does not care about Indigenous peoples, says First Nations Leadership Council

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Interior Health officially declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Creekside Landing in Vernon on Jan. 3, which was followed by the first death from the virus 10 days later. (Kaigo photo)
COVID outbreak over at Vernon care home

Creekside Landing cleared of coronavirus, despite additional death in last day

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

Most Read