Governance & Politics
July 16, 2018

Civic Election Reform: Candidate Responses 1

Our latest Question for Candidates is:

“Are you in favour of electoral reform at the civic level?”

We put this out region-wide, to all candidates for mayor, council and school board (and Vancouver Park Board) in Metro Vancouver for the October 20th election. Here’s the first response – as always, email us your responses to pt.guested *at* gmail *dot* com, or you can also tweet us.

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Thanks to John Graham, architect with Graham Sherwin Studio, for this recommendation of Along for the Ride, a new blog on self-driving cars and urbanization by Sarah Barnes:

I’m pretty sure some Price Tags people will want to know about this…written by an urbanist friend in London (ex-UBC urban geography, ex-London School of Economics Urban Planning Masters program).

It’s a fantastic weekly summary of all things vehicular, particularly automated. She’s a delightful writer too.

Barnes was until recently in automated vehicle policy and planning at Siemens, and is now with Beryl, a London-based urban cycling technology company developing lighting products and systems.

Subscribe to Along for the Ride here.

Image courtesy of Siemens PLM Software.

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Two more responses to our last question, sent to mayor and council candidates in the City of Surrey, Township of Langley, and City of Langley.

For the portion of the Surrey-Langley rapid transit line running along Fraser Highway, do you believe LRT or Skytrain technology is best, and why?

Thanks to all candidates who responded, and to Price Tags contributors for your commentary. 

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“It was a coving Boomburb lacking ekistic viewsheds, but that terminating vista created by the setback on Sally’s abutter is going to help her PLVI.”

Architects, or anyone who lives with (or suffers through interminable patio discussions with) an architect in this day and age, has probably heard that a thousand times. But not everyone is hip to the latest lingo.

In the age of soaring land values, housing affordability issues and the politics of real estate, no doubt a few new words have entered your vocabulary. They populate your social media stream, masked as urban agitprop, but what do they mean? They sit there, marinating, waiting for you to Google them.

Relax — ArchDaily recently published 50 Planning Terms & Concepts All Architects Should Know to cut to the chase.

And if you’re a numtot, you might consider starting a similar list to curate.

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Our most recent question, sent to mayor and council candidates in the City of Surrey, Township of Langley, and City of Langley, was the following:

For the portion of the Surrey-Langley rapid transit line running along Fraser Highway, do you believe LRT or Skytrain technology is best, and why?

Here are early responses. We welcome commentary from all candidates; we will continue to publish submissions as they come in.

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On the same day we published responses from City of Vancouver mayor and council candidates to our question “What would you have done to close the gap between the City & Kettle-Boffo?“, the Kettle-Boffo project team posted an update on their website Setting the Record Straight to address some of the speculation, conflicting stories and general fallout from their scuttled development application.

We welcome commentary from candidates who have not yet responded; Price Tags will continue to survey City of Vancouver candidates on a variety of topics and issues throughout the summer.

Here are a few more responses we received to our question.

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As is widely acknowledged, single family homes are now unaffordable to most new home buyers in Metro Vancouver.

Even with a downpayment of $150,000 — plus bi-weekly payments, and an amortization period of 30 years — one would need to spend $72,000 in after-tax dollars annually to service the mortgage on an average-priced home of about $1.5 million.

The median total income for households in Metro Vancouver in 2015 was $72,662. A shift in the economic and supply dynamic is very obviously required, and with a strong dose of foresight and political will.

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Amidst the ongoing housing affordability crisis in the Vancouver region, and just four months before municipal elections, City of Vancouver council earlier this week unanimously approved a new financial strategy for the Housing Vancouver strategy.

Intended to support the addition of 72,000 new homes across Vancouver over the next 10 years — half of which will serve households earning less than $80k/year, and two-thirds of which will be for renters — this is just one among a number of decisions made by Council supporting their Making Room program, including:

  • creating Affordable Housing Endowment Fund
  • allocation of first $8M of Empty homes tax revenue to support co-ops, rent bank and SRO upgrades
  • amendments that would: allow triplexes, quadplexes and other multi-unit forms in low density neighbourhoods; set maximum unit sizes in low-density neighbourhoods; reduce or eliminate parking requirements; provide greater support for projects with community benefit, such as new rental, co-ops, co-housing or land trusts; and, in some circumstances, reduce or eliminate setback requirements and design guidelines that limit housing options.

All of Wednesday’s actions are summarized in this press release from the city.

Some critics have expressed concern that increasing allowable density on sites without significant changes to the rezoning and development permit process will just recreate the same affordability crisis we are in today, thus “kicking the can down the road”.

Are we sure this will bring affordability and sufficient options to the city? We asked some regular Price Tags contributors what they thought.

Photo: Lanefab Design/Build. Check out their #NoAssemblyRequired collection on Pinterest: “Built Examples of Small Lot Multifamily Housing”.

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