On the latest episode of the This is Vancolour podcast, Vancouver City Councillor Christine Boyle and Squamish First Nation Councillor Khelsilem chat with host Mo Amir and dive deep into the issues affecting our region.
And it’s no surprise that housing and affordability remain the most important issue of the day. In this episode, both councillors offer solutions on how the City can build more housing while meeting the objective of making Vancouver more affordable.
OneCity Councillor Christine Boyle says a tool the City could use towards affordability is in the creation of a Land Value Tax. With this tax structure, the City has the opportunity to raise funds to pay for social and non-profit housing, community services, and more transit investments. Expanding transit and supporting the development of more social and non-profit housing meet the target of affordability on which Christine was elected:
“The idea of a land value tax is that we can capture the lift in the value of any piece of land at any time. Often that lift is created by public investments like infrastructure projects, subways, a new bus route, parks, or it’s created by a change in zoning and land-use. The idea of a land value tax is that a portion of that publicly created wealth goes back to the public for public priorities like more robust transit and truly affordable housing in every neighbourhood.”
For members of the Squamish, Tsleil Waututh, and Musqueam First Nations, access to affordable housing is also priority number one. Councillor Khelsilem believes that the City can continue to be a leader in reconciliation and indigenous justice by repatriating City-owned lands to benefit the members of the local First Nations:
“The City has already acknowledged that this is Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh land, that’s not an argument we are having anymore. So if the City is going to be giving up land for non-profit housing, here’s an opportunity to practice real reconciliation by saying ‘we’re going to give the land back to the community so that they can build housing for their members on it'”.
The possibility of achieving true affordability in our region rests on the ideas that our elected officials bring to the table. In this day of escalating land value, does it not make sense to capture some of the value that has been artificially inflating real estate prices, and to return that money to the public purse?