David Chudnovsky: OneCity council candidate Judy Graves will stand up for tenants and neighbourhoods

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      By David Chudnovsky

      OneCity believes in the power of community and the promise of cities. At their very best, cities are beacons of inclusion, justice, creativity, and hope. Strong neighbourhoods—which make up vibrant cities—are dependent on the ability of those who live there to stay and build community.  This means affordable rents—and a cost of living which allows people to save for the future and invest in themselves, their city, and their families.

      In Vancouver, people are getting priced out of our strongest neighbourhoods: out of the West End, out of Commercial Drive, out of South Hill and Kitsilano and Cedar Cottage and just about everywhere else. We all have friends and family packing up and leaving; our most vibrant streets are filling with vacant storefronts. 

      OneCity, Vancouver’s newest political party, and Judy Graves—our candidate for city council—has the resolve to fight to save neighbourhoods, and in turn, our city: to prevent renovictions, displacement, and runaway luxury developments, while adding much needed affordable rental homes.

      Throughout Vision Vancouver’s tenure at City Hall, neighbourhoods have been sounding alarms about their survival. Allowing runaway luxury developments and blanket rezonings under the guise of “neighbourhood plans” has led to large-scale organized resistance to city hall, and cynicism in the political process. We saw this during Chinatown’s protest against the 105 Keefer development proposal earlier this summer; we’ve seen it in Grandview-Woodlands, in Collingwood, and in the Downtown Eastside. While we believe that all neighbourhoods need to welcome increased density, especially for affordable rental, OneCity believes in real, meaningful consultation together with neighbourhoods. 

      It’s time to put a stop to residents being priced out and moved out of the neighbourhoods they call home.

      Only OneCity and Judy Graves will:

      1. Create a local luxury property surtax of 1.5 percent on the wealthiest 1 percent and 0.5 percent on the wealthiest 5 percent of residential property in Vancouver.

      2. Use the new revenue to build up to 10,000 new guaranteed affordable rental units across the city within five years, and ensure rents are fixed at 30 percent of tenants’ income in all these newly created city-owned rentals, forever.

      3. Create a Flipping Levy on all homes sold within three years of purchase. The Flipping Levy would apply a 50 percent tax to the speculative profit made within the first year, and decrease to 35 percent in years two and three.

      4. Open up all Vancouver neighbourhoods with new citywide inclusionary zoning to put affordable housing before sprawling mansions and luxury developments.   

      Solving the housing crisis isn’t a mystery. We have seen what other jurisdictions around the world have done to successfully protect renters and
      communities.  OneCity knows that it will take collaboration with the provincial government, and will advocate aggressively for a number of sweeping changes to the Residential Tenancy Act
      This includes pushing for:

      1. Rent control legislation being tied to the unit/address, and not the tenant.

      2. Allowing a provincially regulated rent increase at a given address only once every 24 months. 

      3. Ending the loophole that allows the landlord to set any rent after the end of a long-term lease. Since 2002, British Columbia has had a two-tiered system where fixed-term renters get no protection, while those who rent month-to-month do. 

      4. Ending the geographic increase loophole which allows rent increases to be above guidelines in certain geographic locations.

      5. Ensuring rent increases would never be greater than the rate of inflation, rather than the inflation +2 percent limit presently in place.  

      OneCity and Judy Graves won’t sit idly by waiting for the province to act.

      While we will not shy away from advocating to senior levels of government for measures that would advance housing security, we will work fiercely to ensure every possible tool at the disposal of city council is used to ensure the protection of renters, our neighbourhoods, and our communities. 

      Judy Graves is a proven advocate and tenacious fighter—we believe that Judy’s voice, a OneCity voice on Council, will move us closer to the Vancouver we want: a city of inclusion, justice, creativity, and hope.