Candidate Questions: Housing Affordability

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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)

Shakeel Gaya

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 BC budget that the NDP government released in February on tackling affordability is exciting and hopeful. The options open to us as a municipality is to:
1.) Reach out to our federal government to explore was to overcome cost barriers to develop new purpose-built rental projects
2.) work closely with the provincial government to eliminate barriers to affordable housing and develop new tools such as rental zoning
3.) The NDP talk about funds will be available to assist non-profits with the renovation of existing projects
In Richmond, a newly-formed Richmond-based organization says it has a solution to the city’s housing affordability problem.
Lower Mainland Affordable Housing Foundation, founded by real estate developer and council candidate Sunny Ho, announced Monday that it will seek funding from BC Housing to create more affordable rental units in the Lower Mainland.
I would like to see how this foundation is going to work and hopefully we can come up with something similar here in Port Coquitlam.

Darrell Penner

There are 2 affordability issues. One is ownership and the other is rental.
On ownership there are limited opportunities unless the community as a whole subsidizes ownership. This is not what municipal governments should do. We do not collect taxes for these types of issues. This is definitely a Provincial and Federal responsiblity. Having said that there is an opportunity to work with Developers that use a different model on how they calculate their bottom line. The developer working with non-profit group would use the lift on the land and apply that to the applicants down payment (this can eliminate or greatly reduce the down payment required)The developer makes their profits on the building itself.. this does not give the developer as much profit but is a model that we are see raising.
Townline development in Port Moody has just done this.. I would certainly support this in our community..
On rental we are fortunate that we have over 1200 non market rental housing unites already and we will have another 27 unites coming on stream next year..
the way that that some of these units are supplied is by requiring the developer, when applying for either greater density or rezoning for rental housing to have some of the units non market and that the subsidies come from the enter building and is managed by the building.. this is a win win because the community does not subsidized this but gets non market rentals

Steve Darling

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.

Robert Delagiroday

Affordable housing takes on two directions if implemented correctly:
The first direction is housing subsidy for low income or at-risk indviduals. I will engage with BC Housing assertively, to ensure that we are getting our money’s worth as taxpayers, and ensure that they are providing adequate resources for our residents.  This has a secondary effect on the housing market by removing those provided with subsidized housing from the demand base.  So demand will be lower versus supply, meaning more options for buyers and renters which will cause a more competetive market.
The second direction would be to ensure an appropriate amount of residential development is approved and underway.  More development means more available quota of affordable units, but also means more supply of housing versus demand.  This will make the supply market need to be more competetive for the comparatively lower demand.
Housing valuations will continue to rise, that is inevitable.  The best we can do to curb this trend is to create a more competetive supply base.

Eric Hirvonen

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.

Dawn Becker

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.

Glenn Pollock

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.

Justin Traviss

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.

 

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