Creating more affordable housing takes out of wood-frame box thinking

Could zoning more stacked townhouses help increase affordability in Metro Vancouver?

Regardless of which survey you read, the issue of affordable housing tops the list of concerns for most Metro Vancouverites. Is it any wonder when a tear-down house on Vancouver’s west side can easily fetch $2 million, while the cost of rental accommodation continues to soar? But what options do our civic politicians really have at their disposal to make cities in our region affordable once again?

One option could be to introduce policies that result in a massive drop in the value of existing single-family homes. While this might sound appealing to prospective purchasers, it simply isn’t practical. That’s because it could send our economy into a serious nosedive.

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Just imagine thousands of existing homeowners now suddenly owing more on their house than it is worth. If you want a lesson on how that works, simply check out what’s happening right now in countless cities across America.

We all know Detroit, Michigan is one of the most affordable places to live, but I don’t hear many Vancouverites clamouring to become anything like Motor City. Their housing affordability is a direct result of their economy falling into the tank. Therefore, if we’re going to open up our housing market to lower-income earners, we’ll need to be much more creative.

Mayor Gregor Robertson announced in his inaugural speech earlier this week that he is going to establish a new blue ribbon panel on housing affordability. While I applaud him for his efforts, he will have a tough road ahead of him. But the good news is there are a number of different ways cities can introduce affordability into the market without having to necessarily depress the price of existing homes.

Step one for Vancouver should be to introduce a number of new housing options for first time buyers that essentially don’t exist. That means thinking outside the wood frame box and following Toronto’s lead by pre-zoning parcels of land for such things as stacked townhouses and row housing.

Not only is this form of housing easier to bring to market at a lower price point, it has broad appeal with young couples and families who simply can’t afford to purchase a more costly single family home.

In next week’s column I’ll explore several other options our civic politicians could immediately implement if they truly want to introduce more affordability into our red-hot real estate market.

Editor's Note: If you're also looking for a related column on this subject, you should also read Pete McMartin in today's Vancouver Sun.

– Post by Daniel. You can follow us on on Twitter @CityCaucus or you can "like" us on Facebook at facebook.com/citycaucus. This column first appeared in 24 Hours Vancouver on Thursday, December 8, 2011.

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  • Max

    Sorry Daniel, but I a smiling to myself right now. Here Robertson & Vision are promising affordable housing yet the low income renters at the Oly Village are worried about being evicted as they can’t pay their Enerpro bills. And what does Deputy City Manager Johnston say:
    ‘Johnston says if tenants have to leave, the city has housing specialists to help them find a place they can afford.’
    I guess it is lost on Johnston that these units were designated for LOW INCOME tenants.
    I think it is about time these residents lawyer up and I think the fuzzy eyeball needs to be given to Enerpro.
    The city has become a bad landlord.
    One man has already had to leave due to issues with the venting in these buildings. He has cancer and it was causing him issues. He left on his doctors orders.

  • Steven Forth

    We are not going to solve the afforable housing problem using the same thinking that got us there. We are going to have to come up with some real alternatives, let them compete (some will fail and that is OK) and get experimental.
    Here is one idea from a designer I have a lot of respect for. Will it work? I don’t know. But let’s find some new approaches.
    http://www.saturnid.org/

  • bobh

    And pray tell why should the rest of Vancouver’s taxpayers have to subsidize these people? It makes no sense. If they can not afford to live in Vancouver then common sense demands they move to where they can afford to pay for accommodation.

  • Steven Forth

    I am in general agreement that any solution to affordability should not primarily rely on taxation. We need to find solutions that are not based on subsidies. These can include changes in zoning, long-term leases or mortgages (100 year mortgages were common in Tokyo at one point, not sure about today now that propery values are down 50%), new types of housing co-ops … there can be many new solutions that do not look to the municipal tax payer for subsidies.

  • Max

    bob h:
    Why are these people paying for both BC Hydro and Enerpro.
    It makes no sense.
    I live in an older condo, have my own hot water tank and base board heating – and my bill is a fraction of what these people are being billed in a new and supposedly ‘energy efficient’ building.
    Something is not right here.
    They are not asking taxpayers to pay their bill, they are asking the same questions that most other people would be asking. Why are they paying more? It is not an unreasonable question.

  • Jeff L

    Max, we’ve discussed this several times here. Please provide details of how residents of the village are paying both BC Hydro and Enerpro for energy.
    As you know, or should know, Enerpro is only a billing services provider, not an energy provider.

  • Brilliant

    Slap a moratorium on all house demolitions west of Main Street. Prices would fall quickly and the only ones hurt economically would be BMW or Mercedes dealers.

  • Max

    Jeff L:
    It was on Global yesterday.

  • Julia

    “Slap a moratorium on all house demolitions west of Main Street.”
    Brilliant, I would say that is not very brilliant. You are going to punish 95% of residents to control 5%? How long would this moratorium last?
    I would suggest the city would be sued so fast our collective heads would swim.

  • Brilliant

    5% of what Julia? It would target way more than 5% of homes being traded on the West Side. Permit renovations only within the existing structure. This would curb the blight of limestone clad monster houses marching through the city that cater only to those not actually working in Vancouver.
    And given that most of the 95% bought before the insane run up in prices, they have nothing to fear. If some foreign investors get burned, too bad so sad.

  • Julia

    And what would happen to values east of Main as a result? Your solution is not even worth a conversation. It simply will not fly.
    It would stop the construction of all basement suites (which also means affordable housing)and Laneway housing (which ‘supposedly’ means affordable housing). Not sure how the current government would entertain such an idea.
    Perhaps a better thing to do is to stop the speculation on rezoning from residential to multi-family. THAT is where things are totally out of control and skewing all the stats. That fix would not interfere with personal property rights, the natural evolution of neighbourhoods and would not replace one problem with another.

  • Nicole

    “billing services provider, not an energy provider.”
    Yeah, exactly. Why do they need a middle Vision man!? Check out the background of Enerpro, and connection to the Hollyjoke “founders”!
    1100 suites x $12.5.mo… that’s a lot of dough for an accountant a notebook and a phone, right?

  • Nicole

    “If some foreign investors get burned, too bad so sad.”
    Complete Agreement Brilliant!

  • Steven Forth

    This is more likely to drive up prices than to bring them down. Freezing existing stock would not leave room for supply to expand to meet demand. And as Julia notes, it is probably way beyond what the city is able to or should be able to do.
    It is useful to distibguish homelessness from social from affordable housing. I have no problem with my tax dollars being used to address homelessness, I would like to see more social housing (at least get us back to historical levels of investment) so I can accept my tax dollars going for social housing, but I don’t think there is or should be a solution to general affordability based on tax subsidies, not one I can see supporting anyway.

  • Nicole

    LMAO!
    “basement suites (which also means affordable housing”
    You probably never lived in a basement suite. And FYI 3/4 of all the basements suites rented out by cheap landlords are not even declared as income by this very landlords. Free cash!
    “and Laneway housing (which ‘supposedly’ means affordable housing).”
    No it doesn’t mean affordable. That’s laughable. Affordable for who? Another way for the BIG HOUSE OWNER to make some more money benefiting of the city’s relaxations. Rents stay the same, the sale price will be extrapolated to the big house prices, nothing changes for whoever needs affordable housing.

  • gman

    Steven as odd as it sounds I agree with you,the city and taxpayers shouldnt do anything for affordable housing when we cant even define what that even means.As far as social housing and homelessness sure thats what we should focus on.If someone has a job in the city that doesnt afford them the ability to live here isnt that why we spent billions on skytrain ?When the government screws with market it never works out.

  • Julia

    Nicole, as a matter of fact, I HAVE lived in a basement suite. Twice in my lifetime. Once as a newlywed and the second time while I was getting myself back on my feet after a nasty and expensive divorce.
    My parents had a basements suite in their home while I was growing up. We had single ladies, students, starting out school teachers, single Moms and the benefit was reciprocal. They had decent affordable housing in a nice neighbourhood and my parents had a mortgage helper so my Mom could stay home with her kids.
    Ironically, at this very moment we are looking at what might happen to the house if it were sold. Likely torn down to accommodate a more formal basement suite (perhaps 2) and a laneway house. 3 affordable housing options plus a more affordable home for the family living in the main house. Amusing, that is exactly the same thing my parents did 50 years ago. So what has changed besides our NEED for granite counters, hardwood floors and media rooms.
    My comment about Laneway being affordable was in quotes – if you missed that. I am not convinced $2,500 a month should be considered affordable – hence my qualifyer.
    The whole matter of legal or illegal suites is not part of this conversation. How is it any different than 3 families living in one monster house. That is legal, right? You might not like it… but it is still legal. Who pays the mortgage – none of our business. Who shares the hydro bill… none of our business. How many kids from that house attend public school… none of our business.
    Do people that take in a student border get a business license and declare the income? I don’t know. Perhaps someone from Revenue Canada can tell us.
    Governments need to butt out. They are not good at this sort of thing. All they do is spend far too much money for lousy results. Let the market respond.

  • Julia

    PS, the house in question is east of Main so Brilliant’s solution would not apply.

  • Jeff L

    Nicole:
    I don’t see the connection to Vision, sorry. But I don’t see why it matters.
    It is quite simple, you should have a billing consolidator if you have multiple meters. If the building managers don’t like the one they have, they should hire another one of their choosing. It costs money to read a meter. Look at your other utility bills, they typically have a fixed price charge as well. My last gas bill certainly did. Terrasen charged me $11.84 per month (in 2009). So much for conspiracy theories.
    Since there are multiple meters per suite, they could decide not to consolidated the billing, and pay for 3 or 4 meter readers to come to each suite each month. You think that will be cheaper for the residents?

  • Bill

    @Max
    “One man has already had to leave due to issues with the venting in these buildings. He has cancer and it was causing him issues. He left on his doctors orders.”
    Not only that but it was reported that the City required him to sign an admission that the unit was not causing him any health issues before they would find him alternative housing. Can you imagine the outcry if a private company did this?

  • Jeff L

    Max:
    Yes, there was a blurb on Global News. I watched it. However, it didn’t say that residents were being double charged, as you claimed. It said that Enerpro sends the bills, that there isn’t an overlap, and that all bills have been put on hold while the situation is explained to residents. We then heard from a nice lady who says she can’t afford to pay her bills because she is on a pension. That is understood, but it doesn’t mean that she is necessarily being double-charged. It does mean that she didn’t read or possibly just didn’t understand her tenancy agreement.
    I looked up Global News to see what the headline was, as perhaps some who just heard the headline concluded something different. They called it “Unexpected Bills” and not “Double Bills”. It is an affordability issue, not a double-charging issue.
    We could decide to give everyone in the Village free heat and power if we wanted to, and just add it to other Village costs. The city taxpayers could decide that that is the kindest thing to do. Is that what you would like to see? It seems to be what the resident profiled on Global would like to see happen. I would vote against it, personally.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Evening
    “What Aufoch’s going on with the Olympic Village? False Advertising, people. These days, Green is the color of Lettuce no more… it’s the color of Money!”
    $5,000 Armani suit…FREE, $480 ‘The Donald’ Silk Shirt… FREE, $180 Haircut @ Tony’s… FREE , $100 Fragrance By Aramis… FREE, $75 Klein combo underwear…FREE, Basket Shoes Worth $15… $45! Witnessing a punk making $200,000+/year for no work or responsibility what-so-ever, telling the people who are facing financial difficulties and consequential eviction, that his “Housing Specialists” are trying to relocate them, from the Charles Dickens Avenue’s “affordable type of housing” into some “more affordable type of housing”… Priceless!
    Jeff L.,
    “We could decide to give everyone in the Village free heat and power if we wanted to, and just add it to other Village costs. The city taxpayers could decide that that is the kindest thing to do. Is that what you would like to see? It seems to be what the resident profiled on Global would like to see happen.”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jzsKJvWiEI
    It would just make sense to have the bills included in the rent. Period. Having one unit subsidized by $1,000 only to look away from a $50 Hydro Bill is very Scroogy, on the City Of Vancouver’s part… oh, and stupid.
    Think of the labor costs associated with all this, city staff, ahem, “the housing specialists”… the relocation costs, stress for everyone involved… stupid!
    “I would vote against it, personally.”
    I wouldn’t. My charitable heart is not similar to the one that is sponsoring the Hollyhock gang. I know they are in their FD Element, very Enerpro-ductive for them, some say… go with the Tides, I have a better one, all’s Well that Endswell!
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • Max

    Julia”
    You may know this, but at one point, families that lived in ‘monster; housing that only had one kitchen only paid one set of taxes.
    Is this still the same?
    And honestly, who is being stupid. We have certain cultures coming here, collectively buying monster houses, collectively paying them off and buying again for another family member. Average pay off time, 3 – 5 years.
    The only stupid people are those not considering a family buy.

  • Max

    Bill,
    Thank you. I was not aware of this but to let you know, I am keeping record of this issue.
    M.

  • Max

    Jeff L:
    Had you heard the live broadcast, there was a phone call involved.
    So answer me this: We are talking about DESIGNATED low income/senior housing at the Oly Village. Why is a third party power provider involved to begin with and why are the costs coming in higher than those that the typical renter pays? And why is there an invoicing cost’ of $12.95 from Enerpro. How many of our regular service providers, hydro, cable etc, charge us $$ just for generating a bill?
    The City’s stance is well, we will move you somewhere else where you can afford, but guess what? All people that are low income or seniors or on disability get the same dollars for rental subsidies and expenses. So I have zero idea how moving people out is going to solve the issue unless, the ‘City’ plans on moving people in with a higher income level that can afford their ‘Enerpro’ billing.
    FYI Jeff L:
    Just got my Hydro bill for my 650 sq/ft apt. 30+ years old, base board electric heating and my own hot water tank – $31.83 for the month.
    Of course, it is not ‘green’ but then again, I now count myself thankful for that.

  • gman

    Seems to me this is all about meters,the soon to come smart meters the soon to come water meters and if you live in an oh so green building like Oly they meter your heat they meter you to heat your water they would meter your breath if they could….oh wait their trying to do that now.Then they pass off the billing contract to their buddy,and dont kid yourself there is no little man they send out to read your meters it all goes through a cell tower,it could go to a small office on a beach in Bali at 12 bucks a pop and they just forward it to a printing company to mail them out.I might be way off base but it sounds like a helluva deal to me.

  • Jeff L

    Max:
    Did the live broadcast state that there was double billing going on? That is the claim you are making, and your source doesn’t appear to back that up.
    We know why a third part billing services provider (not a power provider) is involved. It is because the units have metered electricity, hot water, cold water, heating, and cooling. That is a lot of independent meters to read and invoice separately, but if you think that would be cheaper, then perhaps the building manager should look into it.
    I don’t know why the costs are higher than your older building. Perhaps it is the air conditioning load. Perhaps some residents have both heating and cooling turned on at the same time. Perhaps the system isn’t functioning correctly. Perhaps the heat recovery sources that were designed into the building aren’t functioning yet, and they are relying on more expensive make-up heat sources. Perhaps the monthly charges include a capital cost recovery charge for the energy management system.
    There is always a cost for a utility to read a meter. We all pay those costs in our bills. It is either broken out and itemized, or included in the costs that the utility puts forward to the regulator for approval. But it isn’t free. I noted previously that my last gas bill (Terrasen) included a charge close to $12 that was a fixed charge, separate from the consumption charge. What do you think it covered?
    Your electrically heated older building is not comparable to those new buildings. But you appear to have a low electricity bill. Mine is around $50 with all taxes in for the last few bills. That is for just over 2.5 times the floor space you have. Not sure if that makes me greener. It isn’t directly comparable though, since I am on district steam heat and just pay electricity for heat pumps, not baseboards. Just like your building isn’t comparable to the Village units.

  • gman

    If you live in a building as an owner you will receive a power bill and your heat and hot water are reflected in your maintenance fee as it is usually from a common boiler which also heats the common areas of the building.If you rent from an owner in that same building your rent will reflect that same maintenance fee and you will only receive a power bill if the suite has electric heat that will be on your power bill and the power to heat common areas will be reflected in the owners maintenance fee.I see no reason to add all these extra meters to renters other than to create a non productive billing company.Here a meter there a meter everywhere another meter.

  • Steven Forth

    Hi gman
    I think the city can fo some things about affordable housing, but mostly it is to relax zoning restructions and get out of the way – make it easier to put in basement suites, easier to do infill housing, remove requirements for parking space …
    Affordable housing is primarily a market problem and the city can’t sole ve market problems, but it can make it easier for the market to solve problems.
    This likely incluces new models of ownership other than fee simple, more co-ops and other new ideas none of us have thought of.
    I don’t think the solution will be top down, has to come up from the alternatives people think up themselves.
    Julia’s comments made a lot of sense on this.
    And like most people, I have also lived in a basement suite (back in Ottawa).

  • Julia

    Perhaps a bigger hurdle to affordability is expectations.
    In the 50’s our parents bought 800 square feet with an unfinished basement. They saved up to build the fence and finished off the basement by about year 5 of living there. If they were fortunate, they did not have a boarder or someone living in that basement to help with the payments.
    Would we consider doing that now? Would our kids? I would say in the majority of cases, we would say no – it is beneath us. We want our fully finished units with the nice view, or nice amenities. We want the stainless steel appliances and granite counters, we want to be able to afford dinner out once a week, and we want to retain our membership at the gym. If the car is more than 5 years old, we want a new one.
    No wonder we can’t afford it.

  • Steven Forth

    Is it true that we want that or that developers have decided that is the most profitable thing to sell. I would love to see more raw space on the market that people could build out themsleves.
    As our lifespans and working lives get longer many people are going to want to weave different skills and jobs into their lives. Working with one’s hands and brains, as one does in most trades, should be part of a normal life.

  • Julia

    Steven, one of my fond childhood memories is of helping my Dad finish out the basement. Saturday morning after breakfast we would head downstairs and either I would pass him floor tiles (the design is burned into my memory) or do my favourite job… filling nail holes as high as I could reach (I was 6) on the knotty pine paneling on the rec room walls. In the warm weather, we moved outside and built planters and seeded lawns (that still look fabulous) and I painted fences in the summer so I could buy myself a 10 speed bike. Dad would show me how to hold the paint brush so I would get the paint right into the grain of the wood so we didn’t have to paint so often. I can now cut in a ceiling or door jam as well as any painter out there. Thanks Dad.
    OK, it sounds a little like Leave it to Beaver but is that so bad? I learned about being patient, being careful, being exact and I got to feel the reward of success. My Dad taught me that a girl could do things as good as any boy. Later in life that served me well as I have worked in the construction industry along with the boys with reasonable success.
    Was my Dad a master carpenter, no but we were sure proud of his efforts. As I am preparing that same house for sale, I have had many tears over those precious times of working together towards something that was of benefit for the whole family. Would we feel the same if it was all finished and we simply moved in the big flat screen TV?
    The house we built was large by neighbourhood standards. My school mates were sure that we were rich. In reality we weren’t – just creative. Dad built the house almost by himself, Mom sewed the curtains and covered the dining room chairs. Sweat equity is the term I use.
    We don’t know what that means any more. Instead we complain.

  • gman

    A city is made up of neighborhoods and every one is different,thats what gives a city character.In our great rush to create “affordable housing” Im afraid we will end up like HongKong with 50 story buildings on every corner and pushers at the rail stations trying to cram more people on the trains or bus every morning,and for what,so we can try to create something as undefinable as affordable housing.When I was young I worked all over the arctic the NWT,Fort St John and Alberta to create my own wealth.I heard the other day the Mayor of Dawson Creek showed up at the occupy site offering people jobs and got no takers.Ive always said if your going to live in this frozen wasteland we call Canada,Vancouver is the only place to be if you can afford it.What Im trying to say is if you really want something you have to make sacrifices,but that seems to be lost on this generation.They run up a $100,000 debt getting some useless degree in some social science and complain they cant get a job that starts at a $100,000 a year.All the talk about density is a dangerous thing because we wont be able to turn the clock back.We have a finite amount of land unless we build straight up and stuff thousands of people into neighborhoods that aren’t able to absorb them and thats not what I signed on for.Life is tough but if you work hard and apply yourself you can have whatever you want,but dont ask me to destroy the character of my neighborhood and raise my taxes so you can move in to an area where others have worked so hard to get to before you.Our focus should be on social housing for those who cant and never will be able to take care of themselves by no fault of their own.

  • “We have a finite amount of land unless we build straight up and stuff thousands of people into neighborhoods that aren’t able to absorb them and thats not what I signed on for”
    By your own logic, if you don’t like it, then you should move.

  • Julia

    There is a big hole in our civic planning: Vancouver and other municipalities do not define the ‘maximum sustainable build-out growth envelope’. There is no definition of upper limit benchmarks or the ‘carrying capacity’ of a municipality.
    Anyone hear Peter Judd this week talk about this very subject. We keep jamming more people into the shoebox we will be beyond capacity to service them. Then what do we do?
    Affordability is one thing, unsustainable growth is another that nobody seems to be tracking. We better figure out the difference – fast.

  • gman

    Chris thats an ignorant reply even from a guy whos big solution is to eliminate street parking to put atco trailers in front of our houses.Tell me Chris are you going to let them run their laundry line from your house to their trailers.

  • I’m one of those great unwashed living in an apartment Gman. Not my problem. Sure sucks when your fellow man doesn’t give a shit about your #firstworldproblems eh?

  • Brilliant

    Soon we’ll all know how the Oly Village folks feel is preparing to whack us with a 10% increase in water and sewer fees. Psst don’t call it a tax increase though.

  • gman

    Chris I guess that explains why you dont give a crap about throwing homeowners under the bus ,because it wont effect you.Sounds like a bad case of house envy,if you cant have one you want to screw those who do.So you keep those great ideas coming as long as they dont effect you.

  • Julia

    if we look at who is moving here from other countries, lets consider what they are gravitating to.
    From what I read, they are looking for clean air, green space, affordability and less density- all which they equate with quality of life.
    So what do we do to accommodate this? add density, give up green space, fret about affordability and risk our environment.
    Sound logical?

  • gman

    Julia I think you hit the nail on the head with that.There is no place in this country like this,or in the world for that matter,yet people seem to get all caught up in an undefinable buzz word “affordability” and can hardly wait to screw it up.And to top it off they want to do it on our dime.

  • “Sounds like a bad case of house envy”
    haha, sure, if that’s what floats your boat, then you run with that.

  • Julia

    I can’t see any way to control this beyond looking after our most vulnerable, making sure transit is efficient, tell the government to stop tinkering with zoning and then get out of the way and allow the market to dictate.
    If you want to drive a Mercedes, you have to pay for a Mercedes. If you want to live in some of the best real estate (warts and all) in the world, you have to get out your wallet. We can’t wind back the clock and pretend we don’t exist.
    It is what it is. Any politician that wastes more than 10 minutes saying otherwise has delusions of grandeur.

  • gman

    I think this is a good reason to have some kind of ward system,where a counselor has to answer directly to the neighborhood they are supposed to represent.And if they dont we can throw the bum out.As it is now what we have is the group of eight practicing social engineering for the “common good”and they dont have to answer to anyone directly.They dont have to worry about really bad decisions that effect only one neighborhood because the rest of the city is not effected and probably unaware its even happening.Someone said democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner.And thats why a ward system protects neighborhoods from the 51% and brings debate to council.Several towns and cities in the US have tried to change to our system and it has been rejected as unconstitutional every time.

  • chris (one of many)

    Wards have always made me nervous.
    The potential for corruption is huge, I believe.
    How can one person represent a very eclectic neighbourhood? High income, low income. renters, homeowners,etc.
    At least with the at large system a voter can lobby (and vote for) more than one politician.
    Slip a few dollars towards a ward representative, and they could easily vote your way. Or the other persons way!!

  • Julia

    I still say beyond zoning, the civic government (ward or otherwise) has very little ability to address the affordability problem. They can’t move our mountains or the ocean. They can’t control the mobility of the world’s wealth or population. They also can’t stop people from moving here.
    Let’s examine what they CAN control and decide if it would actually change anything. The only thing I can come up with is zoning. So, what can they do with that?

  • Steven Forth

    I think zoning is the main thing, but there may be a few others. We should not force people to provide space for cars – ownership of a parking spot should be independent of ownership of a dwelling. That way those without cars can stop subsidizing those who rely on them. I think infill housing is a good idea and it should be made easy to get approvals. There may be a small role in the city in the housing co-op movement, at least the city should not get in the way. And good transit is actually an important part of affordability. Probably many of these are covered under the general concept of zoning.

  • Julia

    yes, infill would provide affordable units but it also drives up the value of the land to the primary purchaser.
    right? what am I missing.

  • gman

    Chris I dont think corruption is a good enough reason,its kind of a what if,it could just as easily happen under our present system only with less direct accountability.And as far as lobbying several council members, it doesnt do much if their all on the team and none have to answer to the neighborhood effected, which in a ward they would throw them out of their job next election,but their relatively safe with our slate voting system. Instead a good example is those f…ing hacks trying to address council,and after all their hard work they were insulted and shown the door.On the “affordable housing”,I haven’t heard of any great influx of jobs lately but I have heard about reverse commuters,so wouldnt we just be building affordable housing so people could live closer to the beach and take the train to surrey everyday to work and spend their lunch money.And if we do build it they will come,then what build more etc.etc.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Weekend
    “Vancouver… The only Metropolis where the Elois are eating the Morlocks… for now!”
    Maybe,the Mayor’s new “Task Force” for dealing with the housing affordability in Vancouver, would be wise enough to climb aboard HG Wells’ Time Machine and travel back to 1927 at the premiere of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis”:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j8Ba9rWhUg
    Sorryy I am saying this, but, discussing housing affordability in Vancouver has become an exercise in futility. A three consecutive life sentences felon has got better odds for being paroled than a feckless municipal administration, even with some Provincial intervention, you know… for show, to be able to put a dent in this matter.
    This is a complete national letdown, a disgrace that was not foreseen by all those who fought several wars in order to bring stability, democracy and acceptable living standards to all citizens of this country.
    What we are dealing with here is too big. Talk? Yeah, that we can do. Meet? Oh, absolutely. Do something about it… dunno about that, anyhoo, till I hear otherwise…
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • gman

    Julia I think basement suites,duplex zoning,rowhousing and even laneway housing can work,after all mortgage helpers have made home ownership possible for years.But what scares me is when I hear people throw buzz words around like densification and affordable.I dont even blame the developers,thats their business, and they make proposal’s at their own expense in the hope of future profit.Its up to the city to weigh each proposal carefully and not operate under some agenda or influence of campaign donations.But under the present system of slate voting and no individual accountability it doesn’t seem like we have a voice.

  • “those who fought several wars in order to bring stability, democracy and acceptable living standards to all citizens of this country.”
    Which of the wars that Canada has been involved in brought stability, democracy, and acceptable living standards for Canadian citizens?

  • Julia

    Chris K, do you really want to go there? you are obviously too young to have lived the era so you might do well to retreat while you can.

  • It’s a fair question Julia. If you believe Glissy’s statement to be true, then I would ask you the same question, Which wars that Canada has fought fit the description he/she provided?

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Perplexed Thought of The Night
    “Remembrance Day. Red Poppies. Respect.”
    Chris Keam,
    The history of your own country apparently, eludes you.
    Nothing more to add to your foolish little, weak, uncalled for punch thrown.
    Educate yourself.
    Start here:
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2008/11/07/f-remembrance-day.html
    Continue here:
    http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/history/other
    Try again here:
    http://www.legion.ca/About/remembrance_e.cfm
    Then, on a sunny day take a walk… In between Boundary Rd./ Grandview Hwy./ Rupert St. / 22nd Ave…
    You’ll wonder why all those streets inside this little square are labeled with names like Vimy, Malta, Anzio, Worthington, Falaise, Dieppe, Haida, Matapan, Mons or Normandy, and also why they carry a red poppy next to their names.
    That area is called unofficially The Veteran’s Hill.
    The People of this country, represented by their Government… recognized the sacrifice of their country men and women by awarding them small houses and lots,a decent place for them to live.
    Perhaps, you should go there, knock at some of their doors and ask them why is that?
    Also let me remind you that the Little Mountain Coop Housing,that was obliterated under your Vision pals watch, (which if you ask me was a blatant case of corruption and straightforward expropriation at the hands of this corrupt administration, that allowed this to happen during one of the most dramatic times in this city’s history, in respect to homelessness & housing affordability) was the first type of coop accommodation for the 1950’s veterans and their families.
    But it seems that for people like you, Gregor, Geoff & comp., the main priorities are Greening the Viaducts, adding more separated bike lanes, and gifting your Hollyhock friends one of the newly invented 20,000 Green Jobs with the City. You know what they say: “Ballem – One, Aufochs – Two, Quinlan – Three… 19,997 to go!”
    I know… I’m so exaggerating!
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • GR:
    Get off your high horse. You make a bizarre claim that Canada has fought several wars to bring stability, democracy and acceptable living standards to Canadians. I call B.S. If you are going to use WW2 vets as political pawns to bolster an unsupportable claim, you’re the one that needs to crack a history book and show some respect.

  • George

    Glissando,
    Just when I didn’t think it was possible to have greater respect for you, another brilliant wisdom filled post appears.
    Thank you Glissando..there are still many of us that can’t forget, many of us that are grateful for the freedom we enjoy.
    Best wishes to you Glissando,
    George

  • George:
    Remmy plays you like a fiddle and you glissfully compliment him on a well-rosined bow. Maybe you can answer the question:
    Which of the (several) wars that Canada has been involved in brought stability, democracy, and acceptable living standards for Canadian citizens?

  • gman

    Its not a fair question its an attempt to redirect the conversation.Its more like a grade nine debating technique to steer the subject in another direction when you dont like the way its going and have no relevant argument.But Chris if we didnt go over there when Europe was on the ropes most of the world could very easily be speaking German right now and it might not have been long before they came to our shores either economically or with violence.Thats why they were called world wars.

  • George

    Chris Keam
    My comment was to Glissando, not you. I find you to be a self absorbed little bully.
    The fact that you are challenging me over my decision to respect another person astounds me.
    I have the right to show my respect to Glissando…I lost family in the war…I remember and I respect.

  • Gman:
    I’m not attempting to re-direct anything. Bold claims demand substantive proof. I would hope you would be as questioning of my comments (as you are, and I don’t have an issue with that)if I were to make similarly sweeping statements.
    What’s telling is how little appetite there is to provide proof of this strange assertion.

  • gman

    Chris I just did.

  • Bill

    I think gman answered your question. If no one opposed Germany and Japan our world would be much different today and I don’t think for the better (including for the Germans and the Japanese).
    Your position isn’t surprising though. You are quite happy to take, sorry “redistribute”, what other people earn so why not let other people sacrifice to protect your freedom as well.

  • gman

    Chris sometimes you act like a children’s photographer dressed in a clown costume frantically waving a stuffed animal over your head in an attempt to draw your subject to your lens,instead of the other kids sitting at a table eating cake.

  • I would argue that WW@ had nothing to do with securing rights and freedoms for Canadians, but if you wish, I’ll give it to you. That’s one. Now where are the other ones that constitute ‘several’?
    Don’t shoot the messenger guys. It was a bizarre thing to say and you should treat it as critically as anything other blanket statement.

  • sorry, inadvertent shift key mistake. WW2 not WW@

  • “You are quite happy to take, sorry “redistribute”, what other people earn”
    You know who else falsely accused people of things that weren’t true to bolster his weak argument?
    Hint: He wasn’t invited to Yalta, but they sure talked a lot about him.
    Wrap yourself in the flag and scream from the rooftops of your patriotism, but when faced with real world free speech and thought, you can’t wait to shut down your critics by refusing to address the topic. Hilarious.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Morning
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wp6tzQ4R1tg
    WWI
    Stability.
    At the end of Laurier’s term the Canadians were as divided as ever! After Germany’s invasion of Belgium in 1914, the new Conservative government, headed by Robert Laird Borden,rallied Canadians to join Britain’s side in World War I and basically forged the greatest unity of Canadian sentiment!
    Most Canadian troupes were… volunteers!
    Indirectly the war effort meant jobs for all the Canadians at home, great pride for helping Britain and it unified the country’s political spectrum.
    Records show that more than 600,000 men were enlisted, more than 60,000 Canadians were killed in action or died of wounds.
    Following this act of bravery from Canada , the Imperial Conference of 1926 confirmed in its Declaration of Equality that the United Kingdom as well as the dominions had become “autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another.”
    This is what I call… Democracy.
    They were, however, “united by a common allegiance to the Crown, and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
    Just as a curiosity , at the end of 1919 the Canadian Government acquired Grand Trunk Pacific Railway and the Canadian Northern Grand Trunk and merged them to create the publicly owned Canadian National Railways. A great achievement as a direct result of the government understanding their real mandate which was “with the people, for the people” whereas in our days Gordon Muir Campbell and Christy Clark’s Prov. Govmnt. are hard at selling these public assets for change.
    WWII
    Following an agreement that announced for a British Commonwealth Air Training Plan to be centered in Canada, more than 130,000 aircrew personnel was trained and prepared for duty. Canada contributed 73,000 pilots, navigators, aerial gunners and bombardiers, and flight engineers. These Canadians saw service in almost every theater of war.
    The Royal Canadian Navy reached a number of more than 400 vessels ready to take the U boats and to accompany the merchant convoys in the North Atlantic, Mediterranean and the Pacific.
    The 1st battle by Canadian forces based in England was in 1942 in a courageous, but terribly costly, raid against Dieppe. By 1943 Canadian troops were sent into action with the British in the successful assault against Sicily.
    Normandy landings in June 1944… main characters in the capture of Caen, which followed… major victory in the closing of the Falaise.
    Scheldt… Antwerp… Hochwald Ridge. In the early days of year 1945 the Canadians were withdrawn from Italy to permit reunification of the Canadian Army in northwestern Europe.
    In February 1945 culminating with the battle that opened the final attack across the Rhine, which was a prelude to the unconditional surrender by Germany on May 7, 1945.
    Something to remember.
    All persons over 16 years of age were required to take part in a national registration for war service, and compulsory military service for home defense only was introduced.
    Then by national plebiscite, all the provinces except Quebec (Sacre Bleu, again the French) voted in favor of conscription for overseas service if necessary.
    Now, after so much downside here’s the upside:
    “The losses in the war overseas were complemented by economic gains on the homefront. War productivity effectively ended the Great Depression and greatly increased the labor force. Canadian workers produced raw materials, farm products, and manufactured goods needed to fight the war; and this was all done in a volume unprecedented in Canadian history. Industrialization was thus rapidly advanced, through both investment of capital and striking advances in technology.”
    It seems to me that ending the Great Depression as a result of the war effort was in fact a great change in fortune for the Canadians, and a great starting point for generations to come.
    This is how the war was won, how the housing affordability was tackled, how hope was making those people tick-tock!
    Until now… when a bunch of ice-holes with no merits other than lying to the electorate, are avoiding any kind of responsibility what-so-ever, have no quantifiable target in sight, and in the absence of any populist project they are tackling … Global Warming, instead, by 2124, and Homelessness, or wait, street Homelessness, who knows after reading this… War Veterans Homelessnes by 2015 to 2025, and lots of Street Greening, by 2020, one tree at a time.
    Sounds like a plan to me. All those Veterans, would be so proud now!
    Pity though, if it wasn’t for all those American financiers, ex-pats, that sought refuge here only to try now, to step over all those memories with their Big, Ugly, Red, Carbon Off-set, Clown Shoes.
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • gman

    When I look at the DTES and the governments purchase of SRLs I see a problem.They purchase a 3 or 4 story 100 year old building with extremely high maintenance costs spend millions to update them but in the end its still a 100 year old building with very high maintenance costs,and a very difficult clientele.I think it would have been better to replace the buildings with a concrete 6 or 8 story building thats facade reflects the historical architecture of the neighborhood.They could be split between affordable and social housing.That way you would have a mixture of people who get up everyday and go to work but can only afford say $600 a month and those that are not capable.I would say if enough were affordable units in much nicer building those people would have more pride in their accommodation and would create a more self policing atmosphere.

  • Steven Forth

    Hi Julia
    (Focusing on the issue at hand and not various rants on the origins of Canadian democracy, for which I would also recommend the JRS book on Baldwin and LaFontaine.)
    You may be right that infill housing will drive up land values and once again demonstrate the law of unintended consequences.
    Have any studies been done on the impact of infill housing on affordability?
    I still think that co-ops and other alternative forms of ownership are part of the problem. I also agree that the market will self correct at some point, but as Keynes said “the market can stay irrational longer than you can stay liquid.”
    I know that in my own case I am interested in infill houing on my own lot so that I can move into the infill housing and have my kids live in the subdivided main house.

  • gman

    I forgot to say Hey George how you doin bud.

  • Max

    @Glissy:
    Re: Little Mountain.
    Come on Glissy – there is money to be made.
    From what I know, Jim Green (you know the poverty activist that lives in a $1M condo at the Woodward’s building) is working as a consultant on the project.
    $25,000 / month.

  • Ned

    I really did not want to join the discussion until I read Steven Forth making a remark to Julia, by saying “Focusing on the issue at hand and not various rants on the origins of Canadian democracy…”
    I knew exactly what he was talking about, cause it hurts in his Vision back pocket. He and Chris Keam.
    Yes guys, Glissando was focusing on the issue at hand, far from being a rant.
    Of course,if it doesn’t fit your Vision agenda of disinformation, it’s a rant.
    Glissando is right, this country was build on Values and Principles you are not privy to, apparently.
    Young and old people sacrificed their lives so their kids will have a shot at a bright, secure, happier, future.
    Yet here we are, in 2011, where charity money laundering, real estate speculation, and foreign political mingling are the games of the day.
    This is not the country I wanted to live in. Glissando is too smart for the likes of you guys! The joke’s on you, or perhaps you are the joke!
    George let me second you on your candid words. I completely agree.
    Cheers!

  • George

    Hi gman…
    This is a great idea and makes a great deal of sense for the DTES..I also agree with your idea of creating a pride in the living environment..hand up not out 😉

  • Ned

    Brilliant as always Glissando!
    Good background history lesson, thanks.
    Kudos to you man!

  • Julia

    Just spent an hour with someone on this very subject.
    double sized lot is worth about 1.3 times the price of a 33ft lot. 1 suite, 1 laneway house.
    split the lot, and there is the potential for 2 houses, 2 suites and 2 laneway houses.
    Same piece of dirt just went from 1.3 times the value of a 33ft lot to 2 times the value.

  • “Glissando is right, this country was build on Values and Principles you are not privy to, apparently.
    Young and old people sacrificed their lives so their kids will have a shot at a bright, secure, happier, future.”
    haha, sure, What year was the Canadian War of Independence anyway? Those durn socialist teachers never mentioned it when I went to school.

  • Julia

    Chris, stop already. Why do you insist on being contentious with every conversation you chime in on? You are going to take on everyone here and it will add another add 30 posts to this thread but nobody is going to change their minds.
    It gets old real fast.
    Let’s go back to the topic.

  • Well Julia, I’ll explain. Last post on the topic out of respect for the fact it’s an important subject and deserves better than jingoistic nonsense.
    What I really find galling about GR’s claims is not their patent falsehood so much, but the fact that he sells our Armed Forces that fought in World War 2 so very short.
    Soldiers didn’t go overseas to defend Canada. They went to defend people from other countries, and to fight for principles that we still consider important today. A far more altruistic mission than simply defending the country from aggression.
    Suggesting it was self-preservation or a battle to bring rights and freedoms we already had only diminishes their contribution. I have the utmost respect for anyone who chooses to serve in the military. Those who would misrepresent their reasons and revise history to suit their argument… not so much.

  • Max

    Chris:
    The fact that you show such disrepect to our Veterans and their families and I include those currently away is simplying gob-smacking. And just plain sad.

  • gman

    Hey George,I think its another way to look at it,we all know what has been done so far has failed it just gets worse every day.If I had a low paying job the last place I would go is to a bedbug ridden crack where Id be afraid to go to work in the morning for fear of losing all my stuff.I would rather go to one of the no money down no credit required car dealers and buy a used van.I did a similar thing a few years back when things got tight,I rented my property and bought an inexpensive sailboat and moved aboard,after work everyday I would go to trout lake to shower and I did this for more than three years until I was in better shape.But if we define affordable housing as units to purchase I think that would throw a monkey wrench into the market.You would never find a developer willing to take part unless their profit was secured by tax payers and I dont see that as fair.If you try to find a developer to build low rent accommodations you will still be faced with tax payers subsidies or it wont happen.

  • Max

    @gman:
    Habitat for Humanity is the only group I can think of that truly builds affordable/low income housing.
    Mike Holmes partnered with them on a social housing project in Edmonton.
    The cost (sorry can’t rmember) was truly inexpensive as compared to what we see with SRO renos (coming in at $320-$350K for a 250-300 sq ft unit)
    Traditional developers will never build what they can’t make profit on. That is why we end up with programs like STIR.
    But hey, I see the ‘City’ aka ‘Vision’ just let out that is is running a $52M deficit and plans are in the works to raise taxes of sorts, which makes housing afforability and living in Vancouver even less affordable.
    I read the splurp on CKNW – Raymond Louie put the onis on the ‘citizens’ beacause we want things like libraries and rec centres……meanwhile they announce a new green scheme – gardens on parking rooftops.
    A word comes to mind…..Recall.

  • gman

    CO OPs have also been mentioned but from what I know about them the reason they are less money is the resale.Because they require 35% down that means you have to come up with over a $100000 down on a $300000 unit,and I think there are only two banks that will finance them.People buy them because they have the big down and can see the savings in the lower price.I understand there are other kinds of co ops and wonder if some one could enlighten me as to how these work.

  • gman

    Max I give kudos to Mike Holmes on that one.Do you know if these were downtown rental units or were they single family homes for sale?Edmontons market is a lot cheaper than ours,as they are not surrounded by oceans and mountains but at any rate its certainly worth looking at.Now I have to figure out why I called them SRLs,must of been thinking about a camera but I still got it wrong.DOH

  • Max

    Hi gman:
    The article can be found in the Edmonton Sun – August, 17, 2011 (I don’t know if the link will post through)
    Mike Holmes wants to do Edmonton’s affordable housing ‘right’
    A $22 million project.
    Holmes was hired to help build the next phase of the Boyle Renaissance project.
    The project will see a 90-unit affordable and accessible housing complex built near 103A Avenue, between 95 and 96 streets.

  • gman

    Thanks Max I will have a look.I haven’t been there for years but that would be right in the middle of what used to be skid row.I remember the old coffee cup cafe with the round windows on Jasper ave.,scarey place.

  • gman
  • Steven Forth

    Thanks gman, me too. And I would also like to understand how banks think about financing co-ops.

  • Steven Forth

    I don’t think you actually read what Chris had to say. My father (Korea and many other missions), grandfather (WW2) and many of my friends (Afghanistan and many other missions) served and many would not take any offense at what Chris has said. I find it deeply insulting that you would try to exploit this.

  • Julia

    I am troubled that we make everything into a we and them. Far too many good ideas get left on the editing floor because we have preconceived ideas on their merits based on the source.
    We can’t afford (literally) to think that way any more.

  • Max

    Steven:
    Then that is two of us that are insulted.
    Grandfather on my dad’s side (WW1) uncle on my mother’s (WW2) and the husbands of two friends are currently deployed for various reasons.
    Perhaps your family would not find his statement offensive, but do not try to speak for everyone.
    Some of us won’t belittle our Vets contributions for blog fodder.

  • Brilliant

    True co-ops that you buy into (not the local social housing projects using the same name) are great for someone actually looking for a place to live. High down payment and generally no rentals allowed means no investor-owners.

  • boohoo

    Wait!
    I’m offended that you’re offended for being offended. It’s deeply insulting and shameful–Such belittling is disrespectful and being a bully. Shame on you! Shame on him! Shame on anyone who dares disagree with whatever point I’m trying to make. Stop being a bully!
    Bring up veterans?? Shame!! Bully! Disrespect!
    There, can we move past this?

  • Steven Forth

    OK, I am past it.

  • Steven Forth

    So should there be a program to expand the number and forms of co-ops and what might that look like (remembering that we don’t want to expend tax dollars).

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Day
    “First Establishment – Nude Bar in Busy Town advertising Cheap Beer, Lap Dances, Football and NHL games Live.
    Second Establishment – The shelter next door, that asks for blankets, food donations and a prayer.”
    I bet, the odds are 1000 to 1 in favor of any Patron of the First Establishment to never step foot into the Second Establishment, and do a charitable deed.
    How do I know?

    2010 Olympic Winter Games Lost Billions!
    The Olympic Village – $$$ Fiasco
    Vancouver Convention Center West – The Big Empty
    BC Roof Extension – Pissing Off the Seagulls
    Better Sorry Than Safe – 1 Billion Dollars Security Costs

    THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS!
    Isn’t it interesting that when it’s all about Booze, Sports, Gambling, Expensive Useless Projects and Venues, the powers that be and even the people in general, go for the public’s money bag carotid, pronto?
    No questions asked!
    AND…
    GOD IS ON HOLIDAYS!
    But when it comes to Public Safety, Education, Housing, Healthcare, everybody needs a second opinion? It’s like questioning God Another study, another debate, new panels, talk and talk and talk some more, and for so long that in the end, they don’t even remember what they are talking about anymore?
    Till someone shows me proof that something dramatic changed in the general public opinion and perception vis-a-vis the above issues, all I can say is: “Don’t hold your breath on that!”
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • Max

    Glissy:
    Funny you mention ‘booze’.
    I was just thinking about the extended late night bus hours being lobbied for by the Restaurant and Bar Associations and how timely the council debate was in light of that same association fighting against the current drunk driving laws and subsequent amendement(s) to the laws (in ther favor of course) which sucessfully again puts drunk drivers on the road and the gp at risk.
    If folks think that more late night buses are going to stem the problem well……

  • Ned

    Voice of reason, my friend.
    You know what’s sad in your post, Glissando?
    Almost ALL the Patrons for the First Establishment are citizens of Vancouver! Out of which 18.5% voted Vision Vancouver, ha, ha.
    Truly said… the Devil is i the details when God is on holiday!

  • Well, I guess I should be deeply offended by something… perhaps individuals using the hard-won right of free speech to misrepresent the comments of others? But that’s not very productive. Instead, I have a simple wager for you Max:
    Point out where (with some semblance of logical connection) I ‘belittled’ the contributions of Canadian veterans and I won’t post here for a year. But if you can’t, you don’t post for a month. Will you accept this eminently fair challenge Max?

  • gman

    oooh…oooh…oooh canI be the judge please please canIcanIcanI aw cmon Ill be fair honest.

  • Higgins

    100 comments!
    And more than half generated from responses on the elementary school type comments by Chris Kream and his Vision pals boohoo and Steven! I noticed you initiated same attacks on Glissy on Fabula not long ago, so this is not an isolated incident, Chris! At least now I know what to expect from you.
    On the topic now, creating more affordable housing, yes this is a good topic, but when Mayor Gregor & Vision put together a “Task Force” and then appoint or ‘anoint’ developer shark Olga Ilych to head the panel it all becomes a “Task Farce”.
    It’s all good that we talk about it but… you ask me,I give no chance in hell to get anywhere with it.
    But paraphrasing Glissando “this Task Force lives in Vancouver and they’ll have to make themselves look busy, LOL”… 🙂

  • boohoo

    101 posts and I’ve posted once Higgins. Same as you.
    ‘Vision pals’ I would ask you to explain how you reach this conclusion based on my posts, just as I’ve asked George, Max, and a host of others. Surprisingly no one ever answers so I don’t expect you to either. I guess it’s just a lot easier to box me up in a neat little package so you can just sweepingly disagree with everything I say at all times.

  • Higgins:
    It’s hardly an attack on someone to ask them to provide concrete proof for unusual claims.
    I mean sure, it’s kind of funny to watch GR manipulate the crowd with invocations of patriotism and valor, but it’s also a bit sad to see how quickly some of the more gullible readers swallow the propaganda hook, line, and sinker, rather than really think about the claims that were made.

  • Higgins

    ha, I take that back, boohoo, I mentioned you there cause I stumbled over your post, right at the end, bad idea to get into this, that’s val;id for me for me too, I guess:)!
    Ahem… 103

  • Max

    For those interested in the ongoing issues at the Olympic Village social housing units:
    (Glad to see they now have legal representation)
    http://richmondunlimited.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/tenants-in-subsidized-olympic-village-condos-fear-eviction-over-unexpected-bills/

  • Not up to the challenge eh Max?

  • Everyman

    I know I’m going to get flamed, but am I the only one who gets tired of the topic of “affordable housing” always revolving around the poor? Didn’t someone say “the poor are always with us”? Not quite the same for the middle class, a fairly recent creation. I’d argue a city devoid of the middle class, that merely caters to the rich on one hand with social housing for the poor on the other, is not going to be very liveable.
    Inevitably what will follow is a further drain of the middle class to the suburbs and sooner or later the jobs will follow them there.

  • Steven Forth

    I don’t think the topic of affordable housing is about the poor. The issues of homelessness, social housing and afforable housing are distinct. Homelessness and social housing primarily concern the ‘poor’. Affordable housing concerns just about everyone in the GVRD (Burnaby is not particularly affordable either).
    In Vancouver either (i) incomes need to come up quickly, (ii) housing prices and rents need to come down or (iii) new options need to be developed. Probably all three. I make a reasonable income but I would think twice about buying my current house given my options in other cities. A person in their late 20s with a wife and child pretty much needs to be making six figures to live on the west side of Vancouver. I prefer communities that are a lot more diverse and where artists, people who work with their hands, people who choose to do socially meaningful work can all find housing options. One reason the US economy is under such stress is that people who go to top US universities are burdened with huge student loans and can only afford to take high paying jobs in law, consulting, finance and the upper reaches of healthcare. This is one (of many) reasons for the destruction of the middle class in the US.

  • Paul

    Okay, Boohoo, I’ll say it: you are not a Visionista, you are a contrarian – you disagree with everyone regardless of political stripe 😉