Media Statement: July 25th, 2016
Weaver Responds to Housing Bill
For Immediate Release
Victoria B.C. – “Despite legislation tabled today by the BC Liberals, there is still no comprehensive plan when it comes to the affordability crisis facing British Columbians,” said Andrew Weaver, Leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Oak Bay – Gordon Head. “We need the government to come to the table with practical and province-wide solutions, rather than their six talking points.”
The legislation tabled today gives Vancouver the ability to introduce a vacancy tax. However, no other communities in the Province have been granted such powers.
“This piecemeal approach to the affordability crisis is simply pitting one jurisdiction against another. It makes no sense at all for one side of Boundary Road in Vancouver to potentially have a vacancy tax applied, while a vacancy tax cannot be applied on the other side of the street.
“Any attempt to solve the affordability crisis facing British Columbians needs to start with honestly recognizing the scale of the problem. For many, we are long past the threshold of affordability. This crisis is beginning to reverberate throughout B.C. as people get squeezed out of their communities and are forced to move.
“Skyrocketing real estate markets across the Lower Mainland and Southern Vancouver Island are dragging the rental market with them. Given the severity and reach of the housing crisis, a reactive piecemeal policy approach amounts to little more than blowing out birthday candles in the midst of a house fire.
“The legislation introduced today closes the bare trust loophole for offshore buyers that I have been attempting to get government to address for a number of years now. However, once more this is only being applied to the Vancouver market. All this will accomplish is to push foreign investment into neighbouring jurisdictions, furthering the affordability crisis in areas such as southern Vancouver Island.
“What is needed is a province-wide, coordinated approach involving all levels of government and across all communities. We need to ensure that our communities will be livable, that small businesses will thrive, and that the next generation will see opportunities to start families in our cities.
Mat Wright – Press Secretary, Andrew Weaver MLA
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