The Province: Smyth: Premier Clark has ‘new plan’ to keep Metro Vancouver homes affordable

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June 8. 2016 | Michael Smyth

Quoted from the article:

NDP housing critic David Eby is dubious.

“I don’t know what’s gotten into the premier’s mind, other than the latest poll shows she’s taking a kicking on this issue and if she wants to get
re-elected she better start pretending that she cares about it,” Eby told me Wednesday.

Why “pretending”? Because the government’s moves so far have been “laughable,” the NDP critic said, including those 2,000 new affordable-housing units.

“That’s over five years and that’s for people with serious mental-health and addiction issues,” Eby said. “That’s nothing to do with middle-class housing.”

He also thinks the governing Liberals are too beholden to the whims and wishes of big real estate companies and property tycoons who have donated more than $12 million to Liberal party coffers as they reap record profits.

“I have a hard time imagining she will do anything to distress this industry,” Eby said.

Clark said her plan will require co-operation with municipal governments. That likely means it will involve new measures and incentives for municipalities to fast-track approvals of new home construction.

That will not satisfy critics demanding an anti-speculation tax or controls on foreign property buyers. Anything less risks economic damage to the region because highly skilled workers won’t move here, Eby argued.

“These talented folks can go anywhere and they choose to go to a place where they can actually afford to live with their family. Vancouver is increasingly not one of those places,” Eby said. “We have an economy that’s really at a fork in the road — between an economy based on clean-tech and high-tech jobs in Metro Vancouver and one that’s basically a resort community for the super-rich.”

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