Editorial: Housing crisis needs intervention

Housing is a necessity, not a luxury. Everyone needs a place to live.

It’s comforting to hear that Maple Ridge city hall is applying its considerable resources to discovering ways to get more housing, of all types, on to the market.

A report is due before council this fall that will propose a range of options, possibly everything from property tax incentives, reduced processing time, relaxed zoning, to encourage developers to build rental apartments.

Purpose-built rental apartment blocks are cheaper than investor-owned condos when it comes to providing places for people to rent so it’s imperative Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows offer every enticement to allow such building.

Yet housing isn’t only a municipal issue. Both senior governments, and our MLAs and MP, must weigh in with equal vigour to ensure people have places to live.

The federal government is in the process of creating a national housing strategy. Many are hoping that offers real relief, such as restoring the tax incentives from decades ago that spurred building of apartment blocks.

According to Central 1 Credit Union, the 15-per-cent tax on foreign real estate purchases will have create only a temporary cooling of a red-hot housing market.

Low interest rates, a growing economy and a growing population will continue to fuel the housing market, says Central 1.

Unlike, exotic cars, recreational property or booze, housing is a necessity, not a luxury. Everyone needs a place to live. If our politicians ignore that, expect to see more tents on city streets.                 – The News