Housing is on the ballot this fall, in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, and in just about every other city and town across B.C.
Five years ago, a detached house in Maple Ridge went for about $800,000, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Last month, it was more than $1.2 million.
With rent also ludicrously expensive, with no end in sight to the crisis of homelessness, municipal candidates are all saying affordability is one of their key issues.
But how will our would-be mayors and councillors tackle this issue?
Is it cutting red tape to increase the speed of development? Greater density? Infill development? Prioritizing co-ops, co-housing, seniors housing, and subsidized housing? Partnerships with BC Housing?
Each candidate is going to have to convince voters that not only can they bring in the best policies, they can also implement those policies effectively.
But the truth is, while municipal politicians are an important part of the process, they can’t solve this problem alone. The unhinged boom in housing prices has been a worldwide phenomenon. New Zealand, Britain, and the U.S. have all seen similar superheated markets.
There are key things local governments can do, but the heaviest lifting will be done by provincial and federal leaders, and by Canada’s central bank. We’re not going to solve a worldwide housing issue around the council tables in medium-sized suburbs.