We aren’t building enough homes, that seems to be the consensus in B.C., in Ontario, and across Canada.
The housing affordability crisis has dragged on for years now, enriching speculators while leaving young people stuck between either renting forever (and facing ever-escalating costs there, too) or pouring every penny they have into a mortgage and praying they don’t lose their jobs.
Ontario recently released a report suggesting some radical solutions to increase the housing supply, including reining in the power of municipal governments, and not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) opponents of development to slow or block new projects.
The report also suggested creating much more density, especially in what are now single-family neighbourhoods – which might more or less cease to exist within Toronto, if the recommendations are accepted.
B.C. has seen similar suggestions by affordable housing advocates. David Eby, the minister responsible for housing, has been dropping hints that unless the municipal governments make some more moves on their own to streamline the process and get more housing built, the province will step in after this October’s civic elections.
We do need more housing. But we also need the right kind of housing, in the right places, and that’s something politicians in Victoria need to consider.
The Lower Mainland, from Vancouver through to Chilliwack, needs housing that combines relative density, and a variety of sizes, suitable for everyone from single young people and seniors to nuclear families to extended families. We need more rentals and more co-ops. We need density, and we need transit to arrive sooner, so that density doesn’t just generate traffic jams and car dependence.
We need the right housing in the right place. That may take top-down action, but it also requires bottom-up demands from the people in need.
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