Real estate flip-flop won’t solve affordable housing crisis

July 27, 2016

 It’s becoming harder and harder for people to find a home in their communitiesIt’s becoming harder and harder for people to find a home in their communities

Premier Christy Clark has spent years denying B.C.’s housing affordability crisis even exists, and now she’s introduced new legislation that will do little to help the situation in the Lower Mainland, and will make things worse for
people trying to find affordable housing in the rest of B.C.

The new tax on foreign nationals will not focus on speculative investment – the activity that is distorting real estate prices in B.C. – but rather on the citizenship of home-buyers. We have the tools to tax people who are simply using homes as a safety deposit box for their wealth, but Clark is still refusing to use them.

It’s time that Clark start taking the issue of affordable housing seriously. It’s a mistake to focus on citizenship status instead of foreign cash; rather than punish new immigrants on the path to citizenship, we should be targeting
people who do not pay taxes on foreign income in B.C. We need to link income tax data with real estate purchases to identify the international
money at the root of the housing crisis.

Nor can we neglect the rental market, which leaves so many in B.C. living in unstable living situations. Again and again, Clark has rejected proposed bills to protect renters. Stable, affordable housing is intimately linked to the
health and success of families, workers and the economy as a whole. To move forward, we must update the Residential Tenancy Act and pursue innovative federal-provincial-municipal cooperation to spur new rental construction, co-ops, and non-profit housing.

Unfortunately, it appears that Clark’s government is only interested in fuelling the out-of-control property market.

Rally to support Dr. A.R. Lord Elementary

Parents across B.C. are getting organized to save their kids schools and fight for better funding for public education. We’ve gone from the second best funded K-12 education system in Canada to the second worst under the B.C. Liberals and the cracks are showing all over the province.

Sadly, we have seen provincial funding policies targeting schools for closure across B.C. Clark has been promising for over a decade that B.C. schools will be made safe by 2020, but after the 2013 election, she broke her promise to parents and students and delayed seismic upgrading by another five to ten years. This is a reckless gamble with the lives of kids and school staff.

Here in Vancouver-Hastings, Dr. A. R. Lord Elementary School has been targeted for closure because it has failed to meet the government’s arbitrary utilization guideline of 95 per cent.

Join Dr. A. R. Lord Elementary School parents in an all schools rally on Hastings between the Cassiar Connector and Renfrew, Saturday, August 6, 12 – 2 pm. Meet at Dr. A.R. Lord Elementary, located at Lilooet Ave. and Pender Street, next to Hastings Community Centre.

Rally details:
http://bit.ly/2a5yHh0

Rally sign: http://bit.ly/2ajTwc7

Petition to keep A.R. Lord open:
http://chn.ge/29H2C27

 

Field named for community volunteer

Congratulations to Richard Saunders, longtime volunteer with Hastings Community Little League, on having a new field at Hastings Community Park named in his honour.

Saunders has tirelessly coached and mentored kids in our community for over 30 years, and his dedication to Hastings Community Little League has been tireless. Saunders led the effort to raise the $300,000 required renovate the fields in advance of hosting the 2016 Little League Canadian Championship.

Hastings Little League was established in 1953 and provides baseball programs for boys and girls ages 4 to 12. In 2009, a team from Hastings Little League represented Canada at the World Little League Series.

Congrats Richard, the honour is well-deserved!

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