Home Business & Economy Housing NDP leadership candidate David Eby rolls out housing ideas

NDP leadership candidate David Eby rolls out housing ideas

UBCM supports the Eby housing platform.

Wednesday September 28, 2022 | VANCOUVER, BC

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

The lack of affordability and supply of housing in BC is one of the most critical issues facing British Columbians today.

Today in North Vancouver, NDP leadership candidate David Eby announced a plan to respond to the housing crisis that — rent or own — impacts nearly all British Columbians in some form or another.

“Housing should first and foremost provide homes to people, not profits for investors,” said Eby today. He outlined how the NDP team under Horgan’s leadership has brought in the speculation tax, has built thousands of new homes, and has passed new rules to better protect renters. “But we know they’re more to do.”

The cost of market housing (given a speculative housing market and rising interest rates) and the upward pressures on rental units has put many people at or beyond their capacity to cope. There is, quite simply, a shortage of housing in the major urban areas. That is impacting the ability of businesses to find and retain employees who either can’t find housing or manage to afford it.

Labour supply shortages has slowed down housing construction for several years now, made worse by pandemic working conditions.

david eby, podium
Attorney General David Eby announced his bid to run for leader of the BC NDP, at an announcement in his home riding, on July 19, 2022. [Facebook]

Secondary suites, multi-unit development, rental housing:

Eby says as Premier he will legalize secondary suites in every region and make it easier to replace a single-family home with up to three units “to provide more homes and more affordability for everyone”.

Eby wants to dedicate public land and resources to fast-track the amount of attainable middle-class housing being built. In partnership with First Nations, non-profits, co-ops and the housing industry he wants the province to buy at-risk rental housing to prevent homelessness and allow for redevelopment without displacing people.

Comprehensive and constructive:

The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) called Eby’s plan “comprehensive and constructive”, saying that “multiple elements in the plan respond directly to local government requests, and provide solid basis for improving attainability”.

UBCM is comprised of the elected officials of all municipalities in the province of British Columbia. They most recently met for their annual convention, held in Whistler a few weeks ago.

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Eby in the race since mid-summer:

Eby announced his intention to be the next BC NDP leader back on July 19.

Current BC NDP Leader John Horgan announced on June 28 that he is stepping back from the party’s leadership (and being Premier), saying it’s time for a leader who can be “focussed on the next two years and beyond”. Horgan has in the past year dealt with health challenges. He has been Premier since July 2017, driving hard on many new directions for BC governance.

Balancing supply and demand:

UBCM has advocated for a balanced approach to the housing crisis by increasing supply of the most needed housing types while tempering the impacts of investor demand. “Eby’s plan sets out a balanced approach that will resonate with many local government leaders,” said UBCM in a 6-part Twitter post this afternoon.

That balanced approach is outlined as: increased provincial investment in capital grants; safeguarding affordable rental housing; implementing a flipping tax; regulating STRs; and improving services for those in supportive housing are policy changes that UBCM has advocated for.

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Other areas of the plan — such as pre-approving builders to replace a single family home with up to three units — will require close work with local governments in order to be workable and effective but are worth exploring, according to UBCM today.

“Similarly, using housing needs plans for establishing targets will require discussion in order to implement, but providing additional community amenity support to those that do is a positive incentive,” it was stated by the province-wide organization, adding that details would need to be worked out.

Clear policy direction:

With a clear statement of endorsement, UBCM sais that Eby statement is effective with “clear policy direction and intent”.

“We will be engaging with our members to discuss the plan in greater detail once the local government elections are complete,” UBCM concluded.

UBCM Housing Strategy:

UBCM issued their housing strategy A Home for Everyone: A Housing Strategy for British Columbians [PDF – 3.8 MB] on February 1, 2018.

At that time, the Minister Responsible for Housing was Selina Robinson. After the October 24, 2020 provincial election, Horgan appointed David Eby (who has been BC Attorney General since the start of the Horgan government). While Eby is running for the party leadership, the Acting Attorney General and Minister responsible for Housing is Murray Rankin.

The 2018 UBCM report contains 32 recommendations structured around four policy shifts:

  1. A Rental Housing Strategy to help address a deficit in rental housing built up through decades of policy priority on homeownership.
  2. A Demand Management Strategy with taxation measures to stabilize prices and restore affordability.
  3. A Comprehensive Homeless Strategy to substantially reduce the number of people who are homeless.
  4. An All Government Approach towards Housing Affordability, through which all orders of government collaborate at a community level to bring about community appropriate change.
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mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke is the editor and publisher of Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends has been an online news portal since mid-2020, having emerged from the base of journalism in the west shore and south Vancouver Island area since 2008 (MapleLine Magazine 2008-2010, then Sooke Voice News 2011-2013, then West Shore Voice News 2014-2020).

All news is produced through a socioeconomic lens in support of progressive change for communities.

This publication series has been founded by editor/publisher Mary P Brooke.