Question to Mayor and Council Candidates
Ideally what would you like to do to tackle housing affordability and what would you like to see the city and region do? (Arman Brah)
As a councilor for the city I would demand better planning . I would facilitate the construction of high rise apartments in designated areas . Unlike the previous council which is making Fremont village a low rise space , I would encourage the construction of high rise towers with school s and recreational facilities. This will increase the supply and help in balancing the cost of living in PoCo.
Jami Watson Roberts
The largest expense for the majority of residents is the cost of their housing. Whether they own a home or are renting – it is the single driver of overall affordability for residents. Housing affordability is a problem that spans the entire GVRD and the province. We need solutions. My housing affordability plan involves an integrated action team of citizens, business owners, developers, city planners, mayor and council to ensure that we are utilizing the space in PoCo in the most efficient manner. Increasing the housing supply by providing options of different type of housing will alleviate housing affordability. We need to increase density, but not through massive high rises, but through development that will retain the unique charm of Port Coquitlam. We have to enable and advancing rezoning options, repurposing existing structures for housing where appropriate and encouraging options that may not have been previously included in past developments. Encouraging business to come to PoCo which will positively impact our tax base while creating local jobs allowing more residents to shop and work locally. From a regional perspective, transportation will be key. Lobbying for Increasing transportation options to and from PoCo would alleviate vehicle dependency – which will reduce overall costs to residents.
Todays’ affordibility relates to growth & development of the region beyond the population sphere of influence ,for that reason more co-operative homes , based on income, must be made available by city , region, provincial and federal levels . City should generate revenue with ventures that help offset resident tax burden.
Port Coquitlam has passed initiatives regarding affordable housing in our community. This is a tough issue as housing costs are driven mainly by the market. Cities and developers can work together to ensure there is a balance of housing options to meet the varied needs of the community.
I think the role of municipal government is to think outside the box to come up with innovative ideas to provide affordable housing. One way to do so is to require developers in certain circumstances to provide a certain number of suites in a building to a housing provider. We recently did this in an Onni development in the Dominion Triangle. Another way to do so is to use City or other level of Government property on which to build. We recently did this with a piece of Metro property where the Atira project the Alex will be built at Flint and Prairie.
Affordability in the entire lower mainland is a massive issue that needs involvement from all levels of government. For the local level, what the city needs to do is focus on both the supply and demand side of the market. For the demand side of the market, we should be looking at re-evaluating the rezoning bylaws in order to quicken the process. For supply, having dense housing units in carefully picked areas would elevate some pressure. The current communities should always be considered with any new housing and keeping Port Coqutilam’s small town charm is essential when building any new housing units.