Amidst a housing crunch, some residents of one of Vancouver’s wealthiest neighbourhoods are taking aim at Mayor Gregor Robertson on his stance that people of all financial backgrounds should be able to afford to live in the city.
A rant in the Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners’ Association newsletter, written by Mik Ball, says the ‘right’ claimed by the Mayor is a far call from past decades where people who couldn’t afford a home in Vancouver simply left for the suburbs
Ball criticizes the city’s plan to allow additional suites or laneway houses on single-family lots.
“Unlike the blue-collar class that moved to ‘affordable’, suburban housing, these young people demand to be accommodated in the city as part of their birthright,” reads part of the letter.
He says the city has bought into the notion of entitlement and it’s creating unrealistic hopes for many.
“That priority has been discarded and the result puts one in mind of the ‘dense pack’ strategy of early 18th century slavers, wherein they struck upon the idea of stacking their human cargo like cordwood in the hopes of increasing profits,” continues to read Ball’s letter.
But Paul Kershaw with Generation Squeeze says the association has completely missed the mark.
“People back in the day, they went to Burnaby, to Richmond, to the burbs to make a go of it. But things have so dramatically changed in the region that it’s barely an option any longer,” he says.
“People are going further beyond that. You have a younger demographic going to Pitt Meadows and to Maple Ridge.”
Kershaw says neighbourhood that used be affordable are very different now.
“If you go to the city of Burnaby, only seven per cent of homes cost less than half a million dollars and provide access to more than two bedrooms. If you go to Richmond only 11 per cent of homes meet that. In New Westminster, only eight per cent of homes meet that criteria.”
He says those areas used to be “working class neighbourhoods,” but not anymore.