30 September 2009

UBCM Passes Affordable Housing Resolutions

Both resolutions of the Union of BC Municipalities call for action - on the part of the Province of British Columbia and the Government of Canada.

The first ... will see the UBCM lobby the provincial government to develop a strategy [for] the use of pine beetle affected timber in the construction of homes throughout BC, and demands that BC mills be utilized as part of the strategy to reduce BC's housing shortage.


The second resolution was put forward by the City of Vancouver, and also submitted and endorsed by Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond Port Moody, and New Westminster. It called for the UBCM to urge the provincial and federal government to develop a National Affordable Housing Strategy that provides necessary long-term funding to support the construction of affordable housing across the province.

Now, here's the thing. The COSTS or MATERIALS to build housing are not the issue. It can take a mere few thousand dollars - and some have done it for NOTHING - to build structures that will provide permanent, adequate shelter. The problem is the willingness of existing property owners and municipal office-holders to enable land to be used in innovative, inexpensive ways.

The UBCM might begin not by telling other governments what they should do in support of 'affordable' housing, but by committing its members to reforming their own by-laws to allow housing alternatives that require little land, and even less in building materials and labour.

Until this happens, I question the sincerity or concern behind such UBCM resolutions.

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