Doing more on housing affordability in White Rock
Three minutes is not a lot of time to talk about housing affordability and the pressures that increased costs have on the vulnerable in our communities. I commend the Peninsula Homeless Homeless Task Force and everyone involved in putting on the PH2H forum, for stepping up to provide council candidates with a space to talk about the issue which is so often ignored.
During my run for council, I’ve been told a few times that “nobody has the right to live in White Rock.” When people say that they mean that White Rock is an expensive city to afford housing in, that this won’t change and that there’s no point in talking about it.
They’re right. There’s nothing in Canada’s Charter of Rights saying that everyone can live in White Rock. But we all need to live somewhere, we all have the right to live. As housing prices climb across the Greater Vancouver region we’re pushing people into shelters who should be in homes and pushing people further and further out of town.
People move to White Rock when they can’t afford Vancouver. They move to Surrey when it gets too expensive here. They move to Langley, Abbotsford and further out. People’s commutes get longer, their quality of life goes down and we keep pushing people out.
Seniors are being faced with evictions as their rentals are turning into investment properties that will sit empty most of the year. Businesses that have grown around town depending on locals during the off-season from the summer tourist boom will find fewer and fewer people able to spend money in their shops and their restaurants.
Cities around the world have begun taking drastic steps to address the affordability crisis. These are steps we need to look at taking now before it’s too late. Things like Inclusionary Zoning, which demands developers create below market rental property alongside their expensive investment condos and an empty homes tax are two potential steps.
I don’t have all the answers to solve housing affordability in White Rock. All I know is another four years of new condo towers touting us as a 45-minute drive from the airport and offering services like Metrotown are only going to make things worse.
I can’t afford another four years of this. Can you?