Vision Vancouver’s mayoral candidate Ian Campbell has published an op-ed in the Georgia Straight.

In it, he starts to disclose elements of his platform, along with specific promises in the event that he becomes mayor. 

Housing is at the top of his issues list, and around the topic, he discusses the values that he intends to use to inform decision-making:

  1. Housing should be treated as a right and not a commodity.
  2. Housing is complex, and not a simple “supply” or a simple “demand” problem.
  3. Equity:  Vancouver needs to ensure a more equitable distribution of affordable housing throughout Vancouver, including purpose-built rental housing.

Specifically, he’d triple the empty homes tax and reduce new housing permit wait time.

With this, he stakes out leftish and somewhat ambitious turf for electors to consider — increased density in neighbourhoods that are currently low density. It’s in line with the “Making Room” initiative recently approved by council.

It distinguishes Campbell from other candidates who would rezone in minor increments — say, near transit stations, or along arterials — and even further distances him from candidates who would not rezone a neighbourhood until its current residents approve.

It’s a sure-fire recipe for rejection by those who fear change and prefer entrenchment of the status quo. And, incidentally, wonderful cover for those candidates who claim to support housing initiatives, but want to duck the bother and risk of actually having to be the first to say (or do) much about it.

Interestingly, reaching far into the past, we see the mostly right-of-centre Hector Bremner continuing to call for similar wide-spread rezoning.

Perhaps in this 2018 civic election, we’re not going to find traditional vote allocation based on perceived left and right political orientation, or party loyalty, but rather on “degree-of-rezoning” placement on some sort of grid.

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