8 Sep 2021
The mayors of BC’s largest cities want the federal government to address some key issues facing urban areas.
On September 8, less than two weeks before the September 20 election, the BC Urban Mayors Caucus released its calls to action that federal leaders should consider this election season. The group calls on the upcoming parliament to take action on key issues facing urban areas, including mental health and substance abuse, affordable housing, public transportation and the local government financial system.
The caucus, co-chaired by Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran and Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, calls on the federal government to keep urban issues in mind when forming government.
“Our hope is that no matter which party forms government, the platform’s promises quickly turn into positive actions that will benefit our residents and businesses in the grip of the fourth wave of the pandemic and the recovery. “said Basran.
Caucus calls to action focus primarily on housing and include:
• Make the Rapid Housing Initiative permanent with an investment of at least $ 2 billion per year until chronic homelessness is no longer a problem.
• Implement an off-market acquisition strategy so that the non-profit sector can buy low-end rental properties and keep them affordable
• Develop and fund an urban, rural and northern Indigenous strategy so that urban Indigenous organizations can provide culturally appropriate housing
• Use of federal tax policy to incentivize the construction of more market rental units that can be achieved by local wages
• Partnership with British Columbia to fund complex care housing and provide adequate and appropriate support to those falling through the cracks
Helps said Canada faces one of the most serious housing supply challenges.
“This is evident in our cities where hard-working residents cannot afford to live there. We know that local governments have a role to play in increasing housing supply and we are committed to it, but we need strong federal policy and funding to help them.
The BC Urban Mayors’ Caucus is made up of the mayors of Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, New Westminster, Prince George, Richmond, Saanich, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria. Together, these cities represent more than half of the total population of the province.
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