(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

BC Rural Dividend gives $200,000 to continue wildfire recovery in Williams Lake

Sugar Cane Development Corporation and Cariboo Chilcotin Tourism Association to benefit

CRD Board Highlights: Regional topics focus of special meeting held Jan. 17

The meeting was to bring new and returning directors up to speed on the regional topics

RCMP investigating bomb threat against Williams Lake fire hall

Police and firefighters respond to threat at about 3 a.m. Saturday.

T-wolves win two at home; eye a berth at provincials in March

“We didn’t give up and kept battling … we just told them to keep working hard and it paid off.”

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Trial starts for man accused of killing Winnipeg bus driver

The Winnipeg bus driver was stabbed multiple times back in 2017

Giuliani clarifies comments about Trump Tower Moscow project

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani clarifies comments he made

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Speaker brings report on allegations to B.C. legislature committee

Report describes Darryl Plecas’ suspicions about senior staff

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver that killed BC RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

Doug Ford says the Liberals’ carbon tax will plunge Canada into recession

The Ontario premier said there are already warning signs of difficult economic times ahead

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Most Read