From an op-ed in Postmedia papers: Older Canadians are not the problem.
Older Canadians pay a disproportionate share of municipal taxes, with 40 percent of homes in Canada owned by those who are age 50 to 70.
The percent is probably higher in the City of Vancouver.
And in that statistic is the reason why residential property taxes are so low, particularly compared to commercial classes. And why it is unthinkable by municipal leaders to raise them enough to pay for more capital costs of rapid transit – or to capture and transfer wealth from high-asset single-family homes to pay for more affordable housing. It’s not even seriously discussed.
It also explains the difficulty in rezoning the Great Housing Reserve of RS-1 to develop more of the missing-middle forms like row housing.
If you are over 50 (and I speak from experience) and have completely or mostly paid for the house you bought decades ago, there is little apparent reason why you would support a rezoning of your neighbourhood that would visibly change its character and bring in what you perceive to be a different class of people. And, unthinkably, might lower the property values you have internalized as the primary source of your wealth and are counting on as you age.
You also have the interest and time to study development issues, to organize, to lobby, to complain. And you vote. Those younger people who might benefit don’t live there, don’t organize and vote less.
Additional irony: when younger people do organize, as the protest against the 105 Keefer project in Chinatown or the towers proposed for the Commercial-Broadway station area demonstrate, it’s to oppose larger scale development that is meant to accommodate growth to offset the difficulty in rezoning single-family areas (or neighbourhoods that look ‘single-family’ regardless of actual density.)
Which is why the middle is missing.