As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the subject, last night the District of North Vancouver council did what it was expected to with the affordable housing file — continue to sit on it.
Councillors voted along ideological lines, with five votes against two, declining to provide $11,512 in ongoing core funding to CHAC, the housing action arm of North Shore Community Resources.
The non-profit must now pursue alternate funding from the municipality by way of smaller grants, or discontinue plans to tackle affordable housing in 2019.
The qualities of the debate around housing in DNV have become simultaneously evidence-based, emotional, and partisan. This was on full display yesterday, demonstrated by some of the combative words from Mayor Little and other council members in their fight for or against the motion. Here are some highlights/lowlights from a watcher of the broadcast:
- Mayor Little led with a motion to go against the staff recommendation and de-fund CHAC, and encouraged CHAC to apply for a different grant. He suggested that CHAC was too effective in the community, and suggested that, without their influence at the Mosaic Public Hearing, the project would not have been approved. He repeated the talking point that affordable housing is best achieved through preservation of existing stock. He said that CHAC’s actions had irreparably damaged DNV’s reputation.
- Lisa Muri gave a weird alternate history of development and its impacts, casting herself as the saviour of the community. The longest-standing Council member, she said she isn’t really a politician, and that she is truly an activist, then bad-mouthed CHAC for daring to apply for alternative funding after they were threatened to have their core funding revoked. She believes CHAC is trying to pull a fast one by applying for a different pool of funding. Then she repeated the assertion that CHAC was damaging the DNV’s reputation. Then she complained that CHAC was making things so uncomfortable for Council, who have to make such difficult choices.
- Matthew Bond and Jordan Back were both patient, and reasonably made the case for CHAC and affordable housing. Matthew Bond was particularly good when he ridiculed Mayor Little’s statements about CHAC, and Megan Curran, who was paranoid that affordable housing forums were sponsored by developers. Bond asked her why she would de-fund CHAC, an NGO, when her issue was corporate influence in affordable housing — developers don’t do affordable housing projects to enrich themselves.
- Megan Curran was clearly upset at being cast as evil by de-funding an NGO, and that her outrage was insufficient to be in any way convincing beyond her base. She resented Back and Bond for making her look stupid, and often made petty, gossipy remarks at them, rather than making a cogent argument herself. She also gave the NS Winter Club a hard time for sending a delegation to Council.
- Betty Forbes phoned in her vote. There was a moment of comedy when it was clear she misunderstood the motion.
- Jim Hanson repeated his standard assertion that he supports affordable housing, then voted to de-fund CHAC. I’ve heard the speech a few times now, and while he’s getting good at it, there comes a point where his words ring hollow and his actions speak much more loudly than words.
Do you live in the District of No Vancouver? What do you think of council so far, and the prospect for dialogue about affordable housing without CHAC?