Tag Archives: affordable housing

District one of Metro Vancouver’s priciest communities – and getting more pricey

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The Van City Credit Union has published a report this month that looks at affordability and changes in affordability for housing in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and southern Vancouver Island.

They find that while nowhere is cheap, the District of North Vancouver is expensive and getting more so.

The report can be found here:

https://www.vancity.com/SharedContent/documents/News/Vancity-Report-Housing-affordability-in-BCs-hottest-markets.pdf

Among their highlights Van City found “the overall affordability of residential properties sold in the city of Vancouver worsened 2.9% in the 12 months ended February 28, 2017, but other municipalities saw more dramatic declines: affordability dropped 38% in North Vancouver (district), 31% in Delta; 29% in Langley (township) and 23% in Maple Ridge.”

“The widespread decrease in affordability came despite a cooling of sales in the Metro Vancouver market in the latter half of 2016 following the introduction of a 15-per-cent property transfer tax on foreign nationals’ purchases of residential real estate within Metro Vancouver.”

The two most affordable communities found were Chilliwack and Sooke.

The search for affordable homes is pushing people into the Fraser Valley. the report found “Delta and Langley (township), for example, saw median sale prices increase 32% and 30%, respectively, similar to the 30% increase  that detached homes in Vancouver saw.”

The report found the DNV was the fourth least affordable community for detached homes, apartments and attached homes.

The report looked at foreign ownership as a potential cause of high prices but did not examine issues of domestic property speculation.

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NV District affordable housing debate continues – options for single family neighbourhoods welcomed

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Metro Conversations, a group co-founded by District of North Vancouver Coun. Mathew Bond, held a workshop May 16th to discuss housing options, particularly in suburban areas. Happily, the North Shore News reported extensively on the event titled  “The Sacred Single Family Home: What are we trying to protect and why?”

Rather than an attack on “single family homes” the participants called for greater openness to other options for slightly higher density, ground level properties.

The North Shore News report:

Cameron Maltby, a designer who specializes in those types of homes, said one of the greatest hurdles for property owners to clear isn’t so much the community worried about the character of their neighbourhood but, rather, getting bureaucrats to get over the “stigma” that comes for anything but single-family homes. Maltby lives in a duplex he designed on 23rd Street, near Lonsdale, to accommodate his family as well as his parents and one rental unit.

and

Architect and developer Michael Geller said:

Most builders will build that single-family house and sell it for $3.5 million rather than go through the aggravation and heartache to build something that’s more creative and perhaps much more needed,

He called for such projects to be fast tracked.

Following the meeting Coun. Bond said, the district’s OCP’s “hard lines” concentrating density in town centres may also have the unintended consequence of putting residents’ older, more affordable purpose-built rental buildings at risk of demoviction.

“If people are worried about those things and what we’re doing right now isn’t solving them, then we need to look at different solutions. That’s what this conversation is about,” he said.

There is much more interesting material n the article that can be found here:

http://www.nsnews.com/news/sacred-single-family-homes-questioned-1.20043552

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Why BC’s provincial election is important to cities, towns and districts – and why that’s important to you

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The District of North Vancouver, like all BC municipalities, is dealing with issues like transportation, sewage treatment and affordable housing. But the DNV cannot deal with these issues alone. They are constrained by federal and provincial laws and they need the financial support of those governments.

The May 9 provincial election is going to be important to all British Columbians but it is going to be just as important for the local governments, like the District of North Vancouver, that provide services to our communities.

The organization representing BC’s local governments, the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) has produced a document for the election that looks at critical issues facing our communities.

The UBCM says, “As frontline service providers, local governments are uniquely positioned to understand the evolving needs of citizens. The Union of BC Municipalities 2017 Provincial Election Platform identifies five common themes that are impacting BC communities, and provides recommendations for provincial action.”

The entire UBCM platform document can be found here:

http://www.ubcm.ca/assets/Resources~and~Links/2017~Provincial~Election~Platform/UBCM_2017_ProvincialElectionPlatform.pdf

The five themes identified by the UBCM are:

INFRASTRUCTURE

Infrastructure such as transportation and water services play a critical role in our communities. They also play a critical role in building our economy. The UBCM has called on political parties to commit to stable long term funding that will reduce the province’s infrastructure deficit. They also call for “Ensuring active local government involvement in the design, implementation and governance of infrastructure programs.”

FINANCE

Now more than ever municipalities are being called on to deliver expensive services with very limited revenue sources. Many of these expensive services are downloaded to local governments either by new federal and provincial laws of by the other governments simply ceasing to provide a needed service.

The UBCM has called for “To improve the long-term financial capacity of local governments, all provincial political parties must commit to working with local governments to provide the revenue tools needed to meet current and emerging service and infrastructure needs. This includes revenue sources that recognize growth in the economy such as the Community Development Bank.”

PROTECTVE SERVICES

Protective services play a key role in keeping our communities healthy and safe. They deal with everything from crime to mental health and drug challenges. These services are costly in most cases taking up more than 30% of local budgets.

The UBCM wants the next government to review the arbitration process that sets salaries for protective service and to enhance communication on policing issues.

CLIMATE ACTION

Local governments are on the front line of dealing with the impact of climate change in everything from floods to forest fires.

Among other things, the UBCM has called for appropriate provincial funding and decision making tools to allow local governments to deal with these issues. They have called for “Developing climate action approaches in consultation with local governments.”

HOUSING

Affordable housing is at the forefront of the agenda for many of BC’s local governments. The UBCM says, “Rising housing costs threaten the foundations of local economies and community connections.” It says, “When housing prices and rents are too high relative to incomes, a ripple effect is felt throughout the housing system. Homeowners, renters, and the most vulnerable are impacted along with the social fabric and economic viability of our communities.”

The UBCM has called on political parties to commit to supporting the retention and expansion of purpose built rental housing. They want to see supportive housing preserved and increased and the recognition of the role local governments play in these programs. They call for measures to reduce speculation in housing.

NOTE: Neither the UBCM nor the Delbrook Community Association is endorsing a political party in the provincial election.

 

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DNV Council looks at redevelopment of single family homes

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In many areas, the District of North Vancouver is an older community. Many of the homes built 50 years ago in affordable communities are being torn down and replaced by much larger, much more expensive homes.

This redevelopment of reasonably priced homes is one of the reasons why homes in the District are becoming unaffordable. But citizens have raised other concerns about the process including the impact of much larger homes on their communities.

On March 6th the DNV Council held a workshop on Single Family Home Renewal. The presentation to the workshop by Dan Milburn, General Manager, Planning, Properties and Permits and Tom Lancaster, Manager of Community Planning can be found here.

http://app.dnv.org/OpenDocument/Default.aspx?docNum=3146445

The report found that in 2016 there had been roughly 500 permit for either new single family homes or additions, renovations and repairs. This seems to have been fairly consistent since 1991.

The report outlined community concerns and found more than 40% of issues raised had related to the size of the new house and its impact on the community.

SFH concerns

The report concludes that single family home renewal will only be increasing.

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Upcoming forums on North Vancouver traffic and housing

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Traffic and affordable housing continue to be hot topics on the North Shore. In the next few days two different events will focus on these issues.

This Saturday Bowen Ma, the NDP candidate for North Vancouver Lonsdale, is holding a town hall on traffic and transportation issues at the John Braithwaite Community Centre from 1:00 to 3:00 pm. For more details and how to register go here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/196525760825863/

(Note: the Delbrook Community Association does not endorse any political party. This is simply publicizing a public event).

Then on March 2nd from 6:00 to 9:00 pm several groups are sponsoring a forum on the cost of housing with Paul Kershaw, the founder of Generation Squeeze, at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 170 W. 3rd.

More details here:

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/squeezed-out-squeezed-in-a-community-conversation-on-housing-tickets-30969871720

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What’s driving up housing prices in North Vancouver?

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Why are housing prices rising so fast in the DNV and the rest of Metro Vancouver? What is it that is driving young people and new home buyers out of the market place?

Some people have suggested that it is all due to “supply and demand”, however, recent studies suggest demand on the North Shore, particularly in West Vancouver and the DNV, is rising very slowly or actually falling.

See: http://www.nsnews.com/news/west-vancouver-s-population-shrank-in-2016-1.8719731

nsn-population
Graphic from the North Shore News

Canada Mortgage and Housing suggests that might be other factors at play in rising housing prices. A CBC news report quotes Bob Dugan, the agency’s chief economist, as saying:

“Price acceleration in Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto and Hamilton indicates that home price growth may be driven by speculation as it is outpacing what economic fundamentals like migration, employment and income can support.”

CBC news coverage may be found here:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/cmhc-market-conditions-1.3953358

If speculation is a major cause of rising housing prices it raises serious questions. Canada gives significant advantages to home owners. Should the same advantages be available to speculators? What can our local governments do about it?

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NS News honours 60 year Delbrook resident and parks advocate Diana Belhouse

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On December 5th The North Shore News honoured long time Delbrook resident and Delbrook Community Association (DCA) member Diana Belhouse. And Diana took this opportunity to do something she has been doing for almost 60 years – fighting for a proper park for Delbrook residents.

She called a park on the Delbrook lands, “The chance of a lifetime,” for a park where people can picnic and play, enjoy open-air concerts and enjoy the beauty and peace of nature.

The article by reporter Laura Anderson provided a history of both Diana Belhouse and the Delbrook community.

Over the years, Diana evolved into a respected advocate for her community. She worked as a volunteer at the library in Edgemont Village until libraries were established in the municipal system. Four years on the district’s Waterfront Task Force led to the North Vancouver Save Our Shores Society, which advocates against residential and other encroachments on the public foreshore. Membership in both the Delbrook and Upper Lonsdale Garden clubs led to Diana’s appointment by then-district mayor Marilyn Baker as the first chair of the North Vancouver Parks Advisory Committee.

Diana pushed back against demands that the Delbrook lands be used for housing saying,

“You have to be optimistic, and I am. During the discussion about the district’s OCP at (a recent) council meeting, one councillor spoke about the need for housing for today’s citizens, their children and their children’s children. There is a need for such housing on the North Shore. Access to green space is equally, if not more, important for future generations.”
It is a great article honouring a great person. The whole article can be found here:

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