wilkin­son on hous­ing

Metro Canada (Vancouver) - - Metro News - Jen st. de­nis

An­drew Wilkin­son’s rid­ing, Van­cou­ver-quilchena, en­com­passes parts of Dun­bar, Ker­ris­dale, South­lands and Ar­bu­tus Ridge. The me­dian in­come there is $104,450, com­pared to $65,423 for Van­cou­ver as a whole, and like other West­side neigh­bour­hoods, home prices in Wilkin­son’s rid­ing have soared while pop­u­la­tion has dropped.

That pat­tern is “not a good thing for our so­ci­ety,” he told Metro. “The pop­u­la­tion den­sity is de­clin­ing quite quickly as the chil­dren grad­u­ate and move on and move to other lo­ca­tions in their lives, and they’re not be­ing re­placed be­cause the houses are too ex­pen­sive for young peo­ple.

“In the city block that I live on, when we moved there in 1999, the pop­u­la­tion was about 20, it went up to 40 and now it’s down be­low 20, and there’s no sign of it go­ing back up.”

Like his B.C. Lib­eral col­leagues Mike de Jong and Rich Cole­man, Wilkin­son thinks the answer is more hous­ing sup­ply across Metro Van­cou­ver. To spur the con­struc­tion of more rental build­ings, he wants to see a re­turn to a tax in­cen­tive pro­gram sim­i­lar to the fed­eral in­cen­tives that were in place in the 1970s.

Wilkin­son’s rid­ing is bor­dered to the north by Van­cou­ver-point Grey, rep­re­sented by NDP MLA David Eby. Eby has shown a keen in­ter­est in the ef­fect of for­eign in­vest­ment in res­i­den­tial real es­tate in his rid­ing and sup­ports mea­sures such as a tax on homeowners who don’t live in B.C. and don’t make their in­come here. The B.C. Green Party is calling on the NDP gov­ern­ment for a for­eign-buyer ban but the Min­istry of Fi­nance has said it does not plan to en­act one.

Wilkin­son says he is scep­ti­cal of de­mand-side in­ter­ven­tions.

Of Van­cou­ver’s new empty homes tax, Wilkin­son said it re­mains to be seen whether the ef­fort to col­lect the tax will be worth it. “In places like Kelowna or Vic­to­ria, if some­one has a se­condary home there and they are plan­ning to re­tire and they use that se­condary home for six weeks of the year, are they a prob­lem that needs to be fixed or are they a se­nior who’s about to be­come part of the com­mu­nity?” he asked.

“These raw clas­si­fi­ca­tions of types of peo­ple as good or bad in the hous­ing mar­ket are of­ten not a very good way to fig­ure things out.”

these raw clas­si­fi­ca­tions are not a very good way to fig­ure things out. an­drew Wilkin­son

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