Experts optimistic after housing round table with the Prime Minister

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Housing experts are pitching their ideas to the Prime Minister on how to cool Vancouver’s hot real estate market.

Justin Trudeau along with Vancouver area MPs Jonathan Wilkson and Joyce Murray met with more than a dozen housing experts and interest group representatives to discuss the city’s skyrocketing housing prices.

The meeting lasted about an hour and a half and covered a variety of areas including the impact of foreign investment, supply, density, taxes, affordable housing, and linking housing and transit.
Before the meeting, Generation Squeeze founder Paul Kershaw said he was optimistic the meeting signalled a sign of support from Ottawa.

“British Columbia is to housing today, what Saskatchewan was to medical care back in the ’30s and ’40s. Back then, it was difficult from coast to coast to be able to afford to go to a doctor or the hospital. And then we started dreaming differently in that region to make it more affordable, and that dream eventually became a national policy by which we define ourselves,” explains Kershaw.

He said his group would present a couple solutions including shifting towards housing wealth taxation and away from income tax, increasing opportunity to build more homes and balancing equity for seniors while keeping prices affordable for the younger generation.

PM Trudeau/MPs Jonathan Wilkinson Joyce Murray & Hedy Fry @ housing affordability roundtable #yvr #cndpoli #bcpoli
— Lasia Kretzel (@lkretzel) June 17, 2016

SFU City Program’s Andy Yan says he and other interest groups were given a chance to stress the severity of the skyrocketing market.

“This is his first toe-dip into a vast ocean of challenges, I think. When it comes to affordable housing in Metro Vancouver, it’s going into his exploration of understanding that it’s both an issue of supply and demand.”

Kishan Roy is the CEO of the BC Non-Profit Housing Association. He says it’s encouraging to see Trudeau join the conversation.

“To have him be so animated in his interest in the issue and to take so much personal time, it’s really exciting for people in our sector. I don’t think he’d be doing it if he wasn’t planning some real action,” says Roy.

“He took notes, he didn’t try to intervene. What he tried to do was give everybody an opportunity to make, as succinct as possible, their key point.”