The District of North Vancouver is developing an affordable housing strategy. Part of that work is a survey that may affect what happens with the Delbrook property. Unfortunately, the wording of the survey may lead people to agree to the lease of the Delbrook property and other District properties without being aware of all the facts.
This process began a year ago with a resolution in June 2015 calling on District staff to develop “a green paper outlining regulatory and policy tools to ensure a future supply of affordable housing in the District.”
The Green paper came to Council in October and can be found here:
On May 3rd a Council workshop received additional reports and a proposal for public consultation on housing issues that was to include meetings with participants, a 400 person telephone survey and additional contacts through online and in person surveys at libraries and community centres. The agenda for that workshop and the documents presented to the workshop can be found here:
There is a serious need for a discussion of affordable housing in the District and Council should be commended for leading that discussion. However, the wording of the survey may be leading and the result might be an uninformed support for the district to sell or lease properties.
The survey begins with questions identifying where people live and what sort of housing they reside in. It then moves to asking what people think about the future of housing in the District and whether or not they think there is enough supportive, social and low income housing in the District, as well as emergency shelters and entry level home ownership.
The survey then moves to solutions and this is where the issue of the Delbrook property comes in. A survey question asks, “How much do you support or oppose leasing District owned land for affordable rental projects?” People who have previously supported such projects in the survey are likely to support this without being aware of the options and consequences.
Worded another way, the question would get different results. For example, the survey could have asked, “In future there is likely to be more housing density in the District neighbourhoods. Do you support or oppose the District retaining control of the land it owns to supply parks and facilities to people in those neighbourhoods?” Or the survey could have asked, “The District owns a limited amount of land and with the cost of land is unlikely to obtain more if the land is sold or leased. Do you support or oppose the District using its land to provide parks and services to the people of the District?”
The results of this survey will likely help inform the decision the District makes this fall about what to do with the Delbrook property. It is unfortunate that their affordable housing survey may mislead people into giving the wrong advice.
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