Posted on his Facebook page about ten minutes into the noon Sunday May 24 rally by the #donthave1million movement, here is the statement by Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson. (Apparently it was also sent by e-mail to media. See “Mealy-mouth response…“) We will refrain from commenting, except that he seems to be passing the buck and leaving out a huge number of key factors driving housing unaffordability. We bold a few of his points for emphasis.
People wishing to respond to him could comment on the Facebook page, via @vanmayorsoffice or @mayorgregor on Twitter, or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You could also write to email@example.com.
Today’s #donthave1million rally for affordable housing is an important step to raise awareness of the negative impact that soaring housing prices are having on a younger generation in Vancouver. I hear on a daily basis from people who are struggling to stay in the city, whether it’s finding a decent place to rent for their family or a modest home to make an entry into the housing market. This conversation needs to happen and I hear the concerns loud and clear — and I hope the provincial and federal governments are listening too.
City Hall is doing what we can to shift the housing market towards more affordable housing, whether it’s through incentives to build rental housing instead of condos, requiring more family units in new projects, or investing a record $61 million into affordable housing this year. However, soaring housing prices in Vancouver – and throughout the region – require action from the BC and federal governments to create a more level playing field, which is why I raised the proposal for a speculation tax with the Premier earlier last week.
One of the biggest ways we could boost affordability in Vancouver and cities across the country is for the federal government to re-engage in housing. Steady, long-term cutbacks from the federal government are compounding our affordability challenges. There is huge demand from people on the affordable end of the market for new co-ops and family housing. We need a federal government to take a stand in support of affordable housing and in an election year, I urge everyone to make this a priority.
– Gregor Robertson