Vancouver Election 2018: 8 hot topics and where leading mayoral candidates and electoral organizations stand
7 mayoral candidates and four parties present their platforms on the key issues in Vancouver's municipal election: housing, the overdose crisis, transportation, governance and taxation.
Vancouver residents will choose a new mayor and council in the Oct. 20 election. To help voters choose among an unusually high number of candidates, city columnist Dan Fumano has compiled brief summaries on where they stand on key issues facing the city. The following responses were submitted by seven top mayoral candidates (presented in alphabetical order) and four parties running council candidates, and have been edited for clarity and length.
Hector Bremner (Yes Vancouver): Vancouver’s current plan is 91 years old and does not allow modern forms of housing in 75 per cent of the city. Vancouver is way behind comparable cities in terms of process and technology. Yes Vancouver wants to revolutionize the way housing is planned, zoned and approved in Vancouver.
David Chen (ProVancouver): Require 50 per cent rentals for all new builds, use rental-only zoning around transit corridors, build larger temporary modular housing units to accommodate families, switch co-ops to five-year automatic renewals after first 50 years, build more co-ops and social housing. Fix maximum social housing rents at 30 per cent of median area household pre-tax income.
Fred Harding (Vancouver 1st): Vancouver 1st is committed to building affordable rental housing on city-owned land that will be targeted at costing the tenants monthly rents of $400, $900 and $1,300, for a bachelor, one- and two-bedroom unit, respectively.
Ken Sim (NPA): We need solutions that will make an impact immediately to relieve pressure on limited supply. That’s why the NPA would immediately allow two secondary suites in every detached home — of which there are around 40,000 in Vancouver. The NPA would also build dedicated rental buildings on city-owned land, fast-track housing for those who need it most, and clean up the development approval process.
Kennedy Stewart (Independent): Stewart says Vancouver need housing that’s affordable for everyone. Nis platform includes building 85,000 homes over the next 10 years, including 25,000 affordable, non-profit run rental units, 25,000 market rental units, and 35,000 new condominiums, coach houses, and townhouses. He wants to streamline the development process for purpose-built rental, and create a new renters’ advocate office.
Shauna Sylvester (Independent): Sylvester says the city cannot rest until it has a three per cent rental vacancy rate and the price per square foot for housing is a better match with typical wages. She would support more purpose-built housing to create thriving neighbourhoods for children, working professionals, seniors and businesses by using city resources, renewing leases for all co-ops, and encouraging purpose-built housing through faster permitting and fee waivers.
Wai Young (Coalition Vancouver): Coalition Vancouver would not sell one square inch of city land. To reduce shortages, it would allow one additional rental unit per home. Longer term, it would focus on purpose-built rental buildings and co-ops. It also plans to build entry-level homes intended to be within reach for millennials.
Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE): Over the past year, COPE, including council candidate Jean Swanson, has been seeking a rent freeze. COPE would use all city available powers to protect renters and small business tenants, and will tax mansions over $5 million to end homelessness in one year and build city-owned non-market rental housing in subsequent years.
Green Party of Vancouver: The Greens would seek to amend Vancouver’s Charter to recognize the right to housing, and redefine affordability in bylaws to be 30 per cent of income. It would set a goal of 50 per cent below-market-rate housing for new multi-residential developments and launch a city-funded, city-built housing program on city-owned land. It would change bylaws to make construction cheaper, encourage secondary suites and fast-track permits for affordable housing.
Vision Vancouver: Vision will speed up permits, zone to allow more housing options and deliver more city-built affordable housing, including co-ops, as part of a comprehensive plan for 88,000 new homes over 10 years. Vision’s school board candidates are working to pilot housing for teachers.
OneCity: OneCity believes housing is a human right. We are committed to renewing co-op leases and supporting more co-ops and co-housing. OneCity will utilize rental-only zoning and incentivize purpose-built rental housing across the city, attentive to the needs of urban Indigenous people, seniors, families, people with accessibility requirements, pet owners, and more. OneCity will strengthen tenant protections and build 25,000 truly affordable non-market housing units.
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