The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods has sent the following ten questions to each of the candidates for the single contested seat on Vancouver City Council, and will post any answers received online as they are received.
CVN represents 27 Vancouver community neighourhood associations across the city. The current City Council and its approach to development and the management of City resources has been a great concern. While many Vancouver residents understand that change must come they also feel that this Council does not respect the current look, feel and character of existing neighbourhoods—the very things that have made them so successful and attractive.
This by-election is seen as a critical election and for that reason the CVN is asking candidates the following questions to better understand their positions and report the findings to member associations and the public.
TEN QUESTIONS FROM THE COALITION OF VANCOUVER NEIGHBOURHOODS
1. The B.C. government has tabled a bill that would rein in political fundraising rules at the provincial level, including banning corporate and union donations and limiting individual contributions to $1,200. There is a strong desire to see new standards imposed on municipalities. How would you limit fundraising in Vancouver, would it include any limits on developers, and would you include limits on campaign spending?
2. There is currently a lack of neighbourhood involvement in the planning processes in Vancouver. Please tell us how you would help to facilitate the re-involvement of neighbourhoods in the planning of the City’s future?
3. There is much controversy around the City’s current definitions of ‘affordable housing’ and ‘social housing’.
3a) CMHC defines housing as affordable if shelter costs account for less than 30 per cent of before-tax household income. Do you agree that this definition should be used for publicly subsidized rental projects and will you advocate for its inclusion in all such projects?
3b) The CoV defines a building project as “social housing” if 30% of dwelling units are occupied by households that don’t have the income to pay market rents. The City provides generous subsidies to these projects. Do you agree with this and will you advocate for its inclusion in all such projects?
4. Transit is a major issue in Vancouver. What do you think of the City’s program of building a subway on Broadway instead of a network of surface transit that would serve all areas of the City? What would you recommend and why?
5. As a follow-up, how do you feel about Metro Vancouver’ Mayors defining certain streets as Frequent Transit Corridors (ie. ‘Broadway Corridor’), thus taking development decisions out of the hands of the citizens of the affected areas? and how would you require the CofV Planners treat the major arterial roads in Vancouver?
6. We’ve heard many times, whenever someone asks about how to affect affordability in the City, that it can only be changed through provincial action. What are the ways that the City Council can affect issues of affordability? Give specifics, please.
7. Neighbourhoods in Vancouver are seeing the closure of a number of local businesses, at least in part because of unaffordable property taxes. What policies would you propose to make it affordable for local businesses to continue to operate in Vancouver?
8. Rents are skyrocketing right along with real estate prices. Should Vancouver impose rent control and, if so, what types? Give specifics, please.
9. Most would agree that we need more social housing in Vancouver. Should there be a requirement for equal distribution of social housing across the City and should any residential development over 10 units include 10% social housing? 20%? Why, or why not?
10. “What specific policies or regulations, if any, should the City adopt to ensure that housing is developed and sold for local residents to live in, rather than primarily as an investment opportunity?