City is receiving paltry community contributions in return for rezoning approvals
Gordon Fuller — August 23, 2010
Lately, in my role as Advocate for Social Change, I have been getting on City Councils case with regards to the paltriness of the community contributions by developers when requesting up-zoning/density bonuses for potential development projects.
My sphere of interest in this is with regards to Social Housing and so when a potential development, of more than 50 units, comes before council I have been encouraging the City to get a real contribution and not just the pittance they seem to be happy with. This year I have brought up the issue of Community Contributions at the February 18th public hearing to have the OCP amended to include the Oceanview (Cable Bay) Master Plan; the June 3rd rezoning to allow 231 unit development in the Stephenson Point Area; and most recently on Aug. 5th at the rezoning to allow a 26 story High-Rise on the Port Place Mall Property (no link to the hearing info or minutes at this point).
The common thread is increased density. Increased Density is the catch phrase for many potential developments, Cable Bay and Sandstone being the largest examples, getting their rezoning pushed through council. Never mind for these two that one could just as easily use the words urban sprawl as the outcome.
Density Bonusing is a system that allows for variations to zoning in exchange for community amenities or beneficial housing. An example, using the Port Place High-rise, would be allowing the developer to increase the floor space, 6 to 26 stories, in his development in exchange for some amenity, housing bonus or the designation of a specific number of units for social housing.
My suggestion at the public hearing was that the first two floors be designated for social housing or the retail equivalent be put to the City’s Housing Legacy Reserve Fund. Currently the Cities Housing Legacy Reserve fund sits at $2,765,046.00 and is only expected to grow by $165,000.00 per year, not a significant increase by any means.
Currently Nanaimo bases the amenity contribution at $1000.00 per door, far too low in my opinion and usually resulting in little more than a tot lot in many of the rezoned subdivisions. Amenity contributions should be made more realistic with the goal of adding to Nanaimo’s Housing Legacy Reserve, monies could also go towards purchase of lands for future parks.
An example from another City would be Vancouver’s 20% policy which since 1988 “has required 20 percent of the units in new neighbourhoods be available for the development of affordable housing.” Langford, with one quarter the population of Nanaimo, has a one in ten policy, not quite as flexible but interesting none the less.
Using $300,000 as an average for a housing unit Vancouver’s model on a cash contribution basis of 20% would be $60,000 per unit. In Nanaimo the $1000.00 contribution would equate to .3333%. Nanaimo doesn’t need to use the same percent base as Vancouver but it should be, at the very least, a more realistic $10,000.00 per unit or 3.3333%. Unfortunately the City is not looking at this though I continue to ‘encourage’, on a regular basis, they do so.
This would of course impact some of the smaller re-zonings so I would suggest for anything under 30 units the contribution be based on $5000 per door over 30 $10,000. These details could be worked out.
With realistic contributions we should have seen, based on a 3.3% or $10,000.00 contribution, $25 million from the Cable Bay project, another $25 million from the future Sandstone project and $2.3 million from Stephenson point. While this may sound like a lot the potential profits to the developers of these projects are in the 100’s of millions.
In my opinion the City is literally lining the pockets of developers with untold millions of dollars at the expense of the community. I am not against development but it needs to take place to benefit the many not just the few.
With rising unemployment, poverty and an increasing population, the need for social housing, parks and other community amenities dictate the need for Nanaimo to do better. $10,000 per unit or 3.333% seems a little more equitable commitment and while nowhere near that of Vancouver and Langford it could see some of those potential profits trickle down towards real contributions to the community and possibly the above needs being accomplished.
Here’s what our tough-as-nails negotiators in the Planning Department recommended as appropriate community contributions in their report to Council on the proposed height increase allowance for the Port Place tower…
As outlined in Section 7.3 of the Official Community Plan (OCP), in exchange for value conferred on land through rezoning, the applicant should provide a community contribution. In response to this policy, the applicant is proposing a community contribution in the form of the following items:
• enhanced entrance features (Terminal Avenue entrance throat and east High Street entrance);
• road dedication, superior streetscape edge treatment and standards, both public and private (sidewalks, street trees, street furniture, bicycle lanes);
• pedestrian connectivity throughout the site; and
• public art.
Phase /I (i.e. when Building 0 or Building E is constructed, whichever occurs first):
• transit exchange and extension of the waterfront walkway;
• improved pedestrian connection from Front Street to Cameron Road; and
• road dedication, superior streetscape edge treatment and standards, both public and private (sidewalks, street trees, street furniture, bicycle lanes).
The estimated value of these features is $1.5 million to 1.65 million. Staff supports this community contribution proposal and if Council, following a Public Hearing decides to support this application, recommends that these items be secured following Third Reading.
Time this City Hall got a spine!
All of the above should have been conditions and really would have been done by the developer regardless. They propose to have housing above the retail and if the above wasn’t done it would not make the housing too pleasing, sorta like living above a strip mall. Wait a minute that is exactly what it is.
One of their excuses in moving the highrise from the southeast to northeast is a proposed bike lane. At the public hearing I put it to council that that was all well and good but was the city planning to extend the lane the rest of the way on Front St.? No answer to that one.
If you read the Stephonsen Point one the City is getting $60,000 which they admit is low but at some point in the future th developer will be putting in a road calming feature. More bull as the calming feature should also be a requirement not a contribution.
It shouldn’t be up to the developer to state where the contribution goes. I think more than a spine is needed.
These contributions reflect the immediate commercial interests of the developer and add nothing to the public realm. As you say, Gord, they would have been undertaken in one form or another as a matter of course. A contribution to social housing would have been appropriate. It was mentioned here some weeks ago that a reasonable contribution would have been a public park — for instance at the south end of the site where the tower was originally proposed — equal to the foot print of this tower.
The role played here by the Design Advisory Panel I think is worth focusing on. Council and staff seem to sidestep their own responsibility by portraying the input of the Panel as “recommendation to approve”.
Both the DAP and PNAC seem to hold a lot of sway, even when PNAC is split almost down the middle. Council seems to be stuck on this 50% plus one way of doing things, hence an empty cconvention centre with no hotel. With that one the City was making all the contributions and the developer of the proposed Hotel/Condo Site and Maffeo Condos offered no contributions to the community at all.
This is an important issue and deserves a full accounting. The problem is real, but its solutions seem murky. For example it would be interesting to know the extent to which:
a) a developer simply adds costs to his end product which then passes it on to end users who, at the margin, are then priced out of the market and have their taxes increased to boot;
b) whether this practice doesn’t simply gloss over the situation that most of the housing that is currently being built is built to standards that guarantee high prices and again ignore the margin at the expense of the many in our society whose incomes simply do not allow for such high standards (lot size, home size, building codes, etc.) Should we purposefully standardize a large proportion of our society out of home ownership?
c) Who should be eligible for subsidized housing? Those who simply cannot do for themselves?; Those who are temporarily disadvantaged; Those with permanently low incomes?; Those who are satisfied to do with less?
d) How should the subsidized property be treated? As fee simple to be resold into the private market as quickly as possible?; To be under perpetual rental conditions? Millennium’s
Olympic condos will be provided at subsidized rates to some. How will they be chosen? Has our entire society turned into a lottery where the lucky win and the rest pay. These things don’t come free to either developers or society.
There are a great many questions which need intelligent responses and a great many games to be played in the fragmented situation as it currently stands.
We need a public discussion on this topic. There seems little doubt that homelessness costs dearly. While we try to do the right thing, it is not manifest that we are getting an appropriate bang for our bucks.
A couple of things I hope add something to the conversation:
Jane Jacobs: Her study of healthy urban neighbourhoods led her to the conclusion that all subsidy should be to the individual and not to the building or the developer. One benefit: simpler less costly public administration. Another (even more important she seemed to suggest): when the financial circumstance of the individual/family receiving the income supplement improves they don’t flee the neighbourhood and the stigma of living in “social housing”.
Shanghai: (can Nanaimo learn lessons from Shanghai? Probably not but here goes) —
“China is taking a lesson from Hong Kong, where the real-estate market has long been pointed to as a bubble, but has managed to stay aloft, thanks in part to an adequate supply of social housing for low-income residents.”
— from the Globe Aug 04: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/asia-pacific/chinas-luckiest-people-get-the-keys-as-low-income-housing-arrives/article1661186/
The ideal would be that social/subsidized housing were placed in with regular rental and market housing. The stigma usually comes from social housing complexes which concentrate poverty and create little ghettos.
Ron, anyone can apply for subsidized housing but at some point when based on 30% of income many people have gotten ahead and can actually rent market based for less.
Langford’s idea is to sell at a huge markdown with stipulations on when and at what cost the owner can resell.
There are a lot of ways to do this but the will to do it comes first and that is the thing lacking at this point.
It is interesting to me, that each poster simply accepts that stigma is attached to low income housing. I would have expected at least one of you to argue against a stigma that is based on class. Doesn’t anyone think that class based stigma is wrong? Do you all accept that people’s worth can be judged by the amount or source of their income?
The Langford example which invariable comes up when discussing homelessness, really has nothing to do with easing homelessness. It is a program that panders to the middle class notion that owning a home is infinitely better than renting a home.
Providing safe decent rental housing with shared amenties, that is located near town, not in a sprawling sub-division, is by far the more effective way of providing housing than a few scattered single family dwellings with homeowners living within.
Diane, the stigma I refer to in recounting Jane Jacob’s research is how people feel who are themselves ghettoized (to paraphrase Gord) in traditional “housing projects”. They couldn’t get out of them (and their neighbourhoods) fast enough when their economic situation improved.
The discussion needs a clear demarcation between homelessness and housing affordability issues, don’t you think?
Yes Frank, they are two distinctly different things.
OK, I know it’s basic but it’s a starting point. The state (municipality) creating for instance supportive housing on Wesley Street in my neighbourhood is to me an extension of our health and medical systems and is laudable in my opinion. It has to do with health care services; the housing aspect is important but secondary.
I live in a condo downtown and if I or my neighbour have a certain kind of state income supplement ( like EI, or CPP or OAS or WCP disability pension…) it should be nobody’s business. There shouldn’t be a sign on the door of the home or the building identifying it as “subsidized”. It’s a matter of dignity, not an issue of class.
So I guess it comes down to — do we trust the state or the market to deliver that dignity?
Frank, the state is us. We are responsible for the state.
Do we trust the people we elect or the market would be a better choice of words, IMHO
Diane: The stigma is not so much attached to low income housing; it is attached to low income. We are a nation of snobs.
Setting that aside, I believe that talking with folks who have been in the rental business often leads to a discussion of the care invested in rental housing. Not having any permanent investment in rental housing, renters are, I am told, loath to put much effort into upkeep. (This may also apply to landlords.)
In general a house is rented and a home is owned. An owner is generally more apt to care for his/her property as it represents what is most probably her/his greatest asset -or will become so if an economy is stable. It is for this reason that I push home ownership, though I would ask for a greater range of homes available.
Nanaimo has pushed higher cost homes supplemented by secondary suites or carriage houses which, in themselves, discourage rental apartments as they must compete with every tapped out, rent requiring, mortgage holder of the last few years.
Let’s see a greater range of home prices starting with the bottom (affordable) range. (And they do not have to be clustered together but could be interspersed in development areas by requiring a variety of lot and home sizes.) Affordable does not and should not, in most cases, have to mean subsidized.
Among the points well-made above, Ron : “Affordable does not and should not, in most cases, have to mean subsidized.” You have to fear for the poor English language when its so bent and twisted — how did affordable equal subsidized?
The central housing issue — distinctly separate from the homelessness issue — is about ability to pay. If working families find that shelter is not affordable it indicates that there are some major problems with how our economy is (and isn’t) working. Working people have to receive greater compensation for their labour and more economical housing models need to be devised.
On the subject of ‘affordability’. Housing prices could be greatly reduced if the speculative profit factor (which has nothing to do with the actual cost or value) were removed from ALL housing.
Do you think it will happen??
The ‘average’ house price in Nanaimo in 2000 was $146,829 and by Jan. 2010 it had ballooned to $363,093, a whopping 247% increase. Did you wages go up 247% in the last ten years? Civil servants excluded.
The actual cost increase of material and labour in no way accounts for the increase in prices. Greed, is likely the biggest culprit. That and market manipulation by the banking community and other members of the ‘Star Chamber’.
If you really want affordable housing, you will also have to keep all those government agencies out of the mix also. Their idea of affordable can be seen on Bowen at Meredith (?).
So many questions …… no answers.
Jim: more questions — and asked sincerely, it may sound like “attitude” but it’s really not:
What do you see replacing the profit motive? Who would build housing and why?
Not sure where to post this comment.. I keep hearing how the food banks are looking for donations, fine, but why don’t they take perishable food like fruit, vegetables and bread? Poor folks need something to eat besides canned food. All these supermarkets are just throwing the stuff out, some of it is still good to eat, just a couple of bruises.
I’m guessing that the reason is the cost and logistics of collecting and storing perishables. Food banks have limited resources so that may be why… Makes me wonder again if the answer to housing, hunger and child poverty crises this wealthy country faces isn’t something along the lines of a guaranteed minimum income.
Frank, the amount of money that has been made on housing in recent years, goes well beyond making a good return.
A lot of the ‘gouging’ has been facilitated by excessively lenient mortgage terms and a herd mentality in the market place. It has absolutely nothing to do with real value or acceptable profit margins. It is the same mentality that has driven stock market prices into outer space, again without any relationship to real value.
The collapse of the banking institutions is testimony of how over priced housing has been in recent years. Finally someone woke up to the fact those mortgages were being secured by property that maybe was worth 70% or less of what was owing on them.
My own house has increased in market value by over 100%. Sounds great, but unless I am going to cash in and move elsewhere the increase in value is basically meaningless. Of course, it does mean that my assessed value is going up, and so are my taxes.
So, who is winning this crap shoot anyway??
People of my generation have no idea how unaffordable the housing market has become as we have ridden the gravy train of real estate for 30 or more years.
The average selling price in Nanaimo is $363,093, if someone has a 30% down payment of $108,927 (quite a savings feat for a young couple) you would be shopping for a mortgage of $254,166, the posted 7 year fixed rate at RBC is 6.45% and with a 30 year amortization the monthly payment would be $1584.00 before utilities, user fees and taxes.
Affordable low cost housing??? How about simply affordable housing,period???
Housing will still be built without removing the profit motive, but there is far more than reasonable profit being taken in the housing business in the last ten years.
Jim, I’m a little envious of your clarity and certainty in regards to the workings of market capitalism and central bank monetary and fiscal policy. Me, the more I read about these things the less I seem to understand.
Frank, not sure how much sarcasm is in your comment.
The whole system is just about to the end of itself. Historically, when things get into this kind of fiscal mess, a good old fashioned war has always been the outcome.
We are living in a day when Standard and Poors has threatened to downgrade the debt of the United States of America unless they get their house in order.
Can you even imagine that????
Our haywire housing prices of the last ten years are just one of the spin offs of policies that have been made by men that simply don’t know what they are doing, or perhaps new exactly what they were doing.
The CEO of Insight is quoted in today’s Bulletin as saying they did not proceed with their highrise because construction was going to cost $52 million. Currently the price has dropped to $35 million. Same building, same number of condos ….. quite a drop in cost. The reason? As Mr. Bromage said it was because the prices were simply outrageous, they were just greedy and were not real!
During that same period a LOT of Nanaimo housing was also being built for prices that were simply outrageous driven by greed and they were not real either.
However, due to low mortgage rates and low thresholds to qualify, lots of people were ‘shoe horned’ into housing that is simply over priced and will be murder to hold if mortgage rates go up a point or two.
In the meantime Canadians have the dubious honor of having the worst debt to asset ratio of the OECD countries.
The CGAA reports: “If household debt was to be evenly spread across all Canadians, each individual would hold some $41,740 in outstanding debt in 2009, an amount 2.5 times greater than in 1989.
Canada ranks first in terms of the consumer debt-to-financial assets ratio among 20 OECD countries examined. Such a ‘leading’ position has been a long-term trend.”
That is just household debt, and has nothing to do with federal and provincial debts.
It is not just low income earners that are facing an affordable housing problem, a large percentage of middle income earners are about one pay cheque away from serious problems, and those ‘affordable’ mortgages they took on, can become quite unmanageable if they rise a point or two.
I doubt if affordability has been reality in Canada for several decades now.
Pollyanna has been our mantra for quite a few years now.
At a Public Hearing this Thursday, Sept.2, we can see a case of paltry community contributions in action. There is a request for a rezoning on part of a parcel at 314 Bensonview Blvd. The lot is currently zoned RS3 for mobile home development and is either .36 or .4 acres in size depending on whether you look at NanaimoMap or the Staff Report. The land portion of the property is currently assessed at $168,000.
Interestingly for comparative purposes immediately adjacent to this lot are two other RS3 lots. An examination of the other local lots, also RS3, indicates this to be the result of a previous subdivision of a lot of approximately the same size as that under question, though it involved no rezoning. This offers an interesting opportunity to examine the effect of a subdivision on land values.
The land on the two lots which were created is assessed at $145,000 each for a total of $290,000 for an increase in value for an equivalent area of $122,000. For Council’s approval of this deal the developer has proposed a $2000 monetary contribution towards the City of Nanaimo’s Affordable Housing Legacy Fund. This leaves a tidy $120,000 to hand as the value of the approval.
Surely, all other factors aside, this is indeed a paltry price to pay for $122,000 in value. But wait, there’s more. This is not a simple subdivision. It is also an upzoning to permit a duplex development on one half of the lot. Still more value to be obtained for that $2000 donation.
This is why a major legal way to make real money in Nanaimo is via real estate. Spinning straw into gold is a profitable venture. It is legal and it is municipally approved. It also contributes mightily to the cost of housing. There was NO real value created by this rezoning/subdivision, but Staff recommendations, Council decisions and BC assessments have intervened to greatly inflate its price/value. The logic of this pulled-out-of-the-air inflation requires further examination as does its affects on a neighbourhood, on zoning and on an OCP.
Frank: I, too, noted Jim’s clarity on this. Came across the following on GarthTurner.com … posted by Garth on August 27, 2010 … kinda says it all, I think!
“First, a letter of interest, written by a realtor from Vancouver Island to his gadfly MP, Keith Martin:
Thank you for taking my call regarding the huge concerns and hardships in the new mortgage qualifications regarding suite income and people having to qualify.
This is the way that it used to be: you could take the suite income, say it was $1200/month and they would add it to your mortgage qualifications as a $200,000-$250,000 increase in your qualification amount, now what they do is take the amount of the rent: $1200 /month, multiply it by the 12 months in a year and add it to your income, making only an extra $ 40,000+ to your qualification amount.
This is why the market has completely softened. The market is completely dead. Brand new houses in Sooke, down to $299,900 from $399,900, no calls. The market has dried up all due to financing. I talked to 7-10 mortgage brokers and many agents while I was at the Victoria Real Estate Board golf tournament and everyone is scared. Hundreds of foreclosures coming, about 75% of the home owners could not qualify to buy their own houses (especially with suite).
So what happens when their term of mortgage is up and the banks need them to re qualify? They are doomed. Please look into it. Last month there were 300 home sales on the Lower Vancouver Island with 4700+ listings. One of the worst ratios ever. End of June is supposed to be the closing day of the year. Every Realtor has a few nightmare bank stories right now. Keith, this will put us into a huge recession.”
Pemberton Holmes Ltd.
Garth Turner’s Response:
“Our realtor buddy is lamenting a recent change in CMHC rules aimed at closing a loophole encouraging people to rent out their basements. Formerly homebuyers could get a huge additional amount of financing based on the income a suite might produce, without ever having to actually find a tenant. More importantly, they’d be able to borrow an amount their employment incomes would never qualify them for.
This suite deal from CMHC was one of the factors contributing to an unholy explosion in residential real estate prices in Vancouver, a city with so many basement dwellers there’s a new mutant race of blind pale people. And the changes were needed. Badly. This was another example of taxpayers’ money being used to inflate a basic asset (shelter) beyond the point of affordability.
Sure, it may have encouraged more subterranean living, but the costs for all far outweighed the benefit for a few.
In any case, if Shayne and his golfing buddies are correct and this is responsible for a virtual collapse in the housing market, then that collapse was coming anyway. Besides, I thought this was because of the HST. Or the hot weather. Or the Bank of Canada. Or locusts.
The bottom line is that easy credit and sloppy rules combined with industry greed, voracious sellers and idiot buyers to create a housing bubble. Bubbles never last. And all booms end badly.
That anyone should be surprised – let alone an experienced realtor with politician friends – is a surprise. This, Shayne, is just the start.
Now, back to Milton. Why are the buyers stacked so thick that Halton Regional Police moved in?
Like I said, sticky marketing – preapproving prospects, holding back product, creating an event, and using sophisticated direct marketing to target your demographic. In this case, many young people are the children of recent immigrants whose families have a strong tradition of home ownership before all else.
Nothing wrong with that. It’s a free country. We can’t look out for everyone.
Just too bad nobody is.”
– Garth Turner
Janet, Garth Turner’s an interesting guy… We could use more mavericks in the mix, eh? (The reference to Milton and the Halton Regional Police refers back to something earlier in the article I guess)
“…sticky marketing – preapproving prospects, holding back product, creating an event, and using sophisticated direct marketing to target your demographic. In this case, many young people are the children of recent immigrants whose families have a strong tradition of home ownership before all else.” Sketches the thing out nicely… The modern economic system does leave us to our folly. Consider though for a minute any alternative.
For me, any understanding of the current mess requires a review of the history in the western world of the government instigated economic engineering of home ownership. The principal of course was and still is considered to be progressive almost revolutionary. I’ve been reading “Economics for Everyone — A Short Guide to the Economics of Capitalism” by Jim Stanford — a voice from an organized labour perspective that I think has been missing from the discussion for the last number of years. The ability of working people to be paid fairly for their work has a direct impact on home ownership. It’s one element in a very complex picture.
An aside to Diane Brennan that I personally don’t feel that home ownership offers any kind of heightened social status relative to renting. People like Richard Florida are doing good work on this pointing out for instance that the labour force of a new knowledge based economy will require a mobility not supported by home ownership.
I highly recommend checking out the Globe’s Doug Saunders’ http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/doug-saunders/ series on the economic crises in Europe including the disastrous over supply of housing stock which, as in the United States, was one of the fault lines to give way and contribute to what was by all accounts a near total collapse of the world economy. Big picture stuff I guess but relevant I think to our discussion here about housing affordabilty in our little burgh… And you’ll certainly find echoes of Garth Turner’s description of the folly.
I think a partial problem in today’s society, is that we have become a nation that does not actually DO or MAKE anything anymore.
Conrad Black said something to the effect, that we have become a nation that is a white-collar fool’s paradise, manufacturing departs and too few people are actually doing anything useful.
Because we have no idea how to go about using a hammer and saw and actually making a home, we are left to the mercy of others to tell us what one costs.
Both my father and my wife’s father built their homes while holding down a full time job. Neither were carpenters by trade, but like most men of that generation you HAD to be self reliant, you simply could not pay someone else to build it for you.
The issue of affordable housing could be greatly helped if people were able to roll up their sleeves and put some real sweat equity into their homes, and if banks made mortgage funds available free of interest.
Both ideas I realize are a long way out of the box, but would help the housing problem greatly.
Jim, Habitat for Humanity works sort of like what you are saying. The family and other volunteers build the house, much of the lumber, electrical, plumbing etc. is donated as well. Interestingly they are now getting into building duplex and fourplex units as well as the traditional single family. I don’t know the whole inner workings of Habitat but they make it so a low income family can experience home ownership.
This is what I like about Langfords model which actually has the developer build the house which is the sold at the set price of I believe $160,000. The new owner then has conditions on exactly how much it can be resold for in the future but in the meantime is able to build up some equity.
Jim, I liked your breakdown on tthe mortgage of “the average selling price in Nanaimo is $363,093, if someone has a 30% down payment of $108,927 (quite a savings feat for a young couple) you would be shopping for a mortgage of $254,166, the posted 7 year fixed rate at RBC is 6.45% and with a 30 year amortization the monthly payment would be $1584.00 before utilities, user fees and taxes.”
My guess would be a person would be lucky coming up with 10% so basing the mortgage amount, 326,784, on that the payments would be $2,036.57 per month. According to Nanaimo’s Community Profile, put out by the city, 42% (2006 stats. can.) of housholds in Nanaimo make less than $40,000 (gross income) per year. I hazard to guess that these numbers are far higher in 2010 than in 2006. The mortgage alone, without taxes, hydro, etc., would take over 50% of the gross income. Paying 30% of income is the primary stat used when it comes to looking at affordable housing. With costs of housing the way they are this lets out the vast majority of households in Nanaimo from actual affordable ownership.
Where once the saying was why pay rent it should now be why not pay rent. The average rent for a 3 bedroom apartment being $894.00. Even this put a huge portion of the population paying more than the 30%. That and the fact that rental housing is not being built, limiting the number of rentals, one can envision why I state often that over 50% of the population lives in poverty.
Ron, your post re the example upcoming public hearing shows clearly what my original post is talking about. Huge profits can be made without laying a stick.
Another comment on the haywire housing market in Canada and how it is “an accident waiting to happen”
Another good overview in the Globe this a.m. Jim —
From what the Globe refers to as a “left-leaning” think tank — The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Click the “Interactive” tab. The tabs above the story take you to graphs and historical data… Check out the 3 scenarios they project. Scary stuff for sure. Markets correct though… it’s the crash and bubble burst you’d think we’d be better at avoiding. Canada’s much better off than the US and EU but clearly it could happen here.
Saw something about this last night on the news. While it could be a bad thing for those that have purchased in the last 4 years if the bubble bursts and housing prices drop SIGNIFICANTLY it could make it more affordable to buy.
This being said if I had not bought in 2004 even if prices dropped to an average of $250,000 I would be unable to buy. Its not just the mortgage but all the other stuff, bills, student loan payments etc. that would put it out of reach. This would be the same with most folk nowadays.
If the City were to raise its Community Contribution level soo much more could be done with regards to housing. By purchasing property to be donated to Habitat for Humanity or leased to housing non-profits for new build housing or purchasing existing housing/buildings to be run by housing non-profits.
The trick is we need a mix of housing and it needs to be located throughout the City.
Gord, what do you think can be done on the ability-to-pay side so people currently marginalized participate more fully in the economy with independence and dignity? — and of course with the accompanying responsibility and the dignity that comes from enjoying the rewards of ones efforts.
Can you explain this “what do you think can be done on the ability-to-pay side so people currently marginalized participate more fully in the economy with independence and dignity?”, more clearly? Are you talking low income folk, no income folk, people on Income Assistance?
Gord, I guess I was looking at it from this angle: what we have now is very “top down” where a huge publicly funded industry (public bureaucrats, administrators, management, social workers, etc) bestow “aid” on those they deem to be unable to pay their own way in this economy. It’s an inherently inequitable, paternalistic (matriarchal)relationship. Alternative approaches might be a National Housing Policy which entrenched every citizen’s right to shelter and a guaranteed annual income (available to every citizen but “clawed back” when income rises and it’s not required… but it would have the important element of universality which I think is one characteristic of our successful social safety net in Canada).
I know you’ve expressed a valid concern about those who “profit from their attempts to alleviate the misfortune of others.”
So I was just wondering about your thoughts on for instance a guaranteed annual income or other alternative programs…
If you study what the real ‘Social Credit’ ideal was all about, you will find it is not far off what Frank is talking about.
Note; I said the REAL Social Credit ideal, and not what the SC party was in BC.