It’s a motion that could be considered a little too on-the-nose.  The District of North Vancouver’s new council — which previously nixed a non-market and seniors housing project in order to preserve a parking lot —has set itself up to vote tonight on whether to grant operating funds to a housing affordability advocacy group.

Development planner Chuck Brook called out the motion in the latest episode of the Price Talks podcast, highlighting the potential for DNV to make yet another decision that not only exemplifies but exacerbates the housing problems on the North Shore.

The Community Housing Action Committee (CHAC), part of the North Shore Community Resources Society (NSCRS), provides “a tri-municipal voice and platform for discussion, sharing of ideas, advocacy, and research into housing affordability on the North Shore”. Like many other volunteer or non-profit groups — such as NS Childcare Resource & Referral, Family Services of the North Shore, or Hollyburn Family Services Society Youth Safe House — CHAC has relied on core funding from the District to fund its research, policy development and outreach activities, all focused on affordable housing advocacy.

Yet at a January 21 council meeting, DNV council passed a motion to review the CHAC funding request of $11,517.

Council has since received a report from DNV’s senior community planner Natasha Letchford, and the debate — and a decision — will likely occur this evening. (Live broadcast begins at 7pm.)

For those who may consider that this district council has been rather pointedly denying the existence a housing crisis, amidst a surfeit of infillable land, the implication is clear. If CHAC doesn’t serve the interests of the majority will of Council, perhaps that money is best spent elsewhere.

The choices, as laid out in the report:

  • approve the core funding request
  • deny, forcing CHAC to pursue a much smaller Municipal Community Services Grant

And if that’s a no? The committee won’t be able to sustain 2019 programming.

Who, then, would be the voice for housing advocacy and education on the North Shore? Why, residents of course.

The counter argument is one which, if it were EMS, wastewater treatment, or police, we wouldn’t hesitate to agree with:

“Do not put the decision-making into the local communities. This is too hard, and too important.”

We’ll get back to you about the vote (and perhaps the other controversial vote happening tonight on the North Shore). For more commentary about North Vancouver district and the challenges ahead of us all, listen to the latest episode of Price Talks.

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