It was a full house tonight as around 650 people packed into the Hellenic Community Hall for an “emergency townhall meeting” on the affordability crisis, hosted by NDP housing critic David Eby.
31-year-old Sara Solomon says she fears she may never be able to enter the housing market.
“It’s disconcerting and scary because it is just getting worse and worse very fast.”
Valerie Clark says her nieces and their families can’t afford to buy in Vancouver.
“We are gutting Vancouver of young talented people because if they are talented and progressive and healthy they are going to go to a place where they can afford to live.”
Many others expressed frustration:
“Pushing citizens out is not sustainable. Who will be left to pay the taxes”?
“I’ve been priced out of Vancouver and I am educating myself with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. So when you have a health crisis and you need to go to the hospital, who are the nurses who can afford to stay in this city”?
“If Christy Clark wants to protect housing values, she must stop the commoditization of our properties.”
Eby says the purpose of the forum was to discuss solutions to an out-of-control real estate market that has little or no connection to the average household income.
Meanwhile, the Opposition New Democrats say they will tackle the heart of the housing crisis issue in the BC Legislature tomorrow.
NDP leader John Horgan says his party will table two pieces of legislation to close the loopholes around shadow flipping and to keep record and track who is buying property.
He says the affordability component will target absentee owners who use the housing market as a safety deposit box.
“If you can’t demonstrate through your tax return that you are paying taxes either through rental income or other purposes over the course of a calendar year, you will pay a higher level of tax, 2% on the value of the home. That revenue will go into a housing affordability fund so that we can meet the continuum of housing in Vancouver.”
Horgan says tweaking the property transfer tax isn’t good enough.