Too Little Too Late

In the District of North Vancouver, a chronic shortage of affordable rental homes beckons the question “How did we get into this mess?”

It will take an enormous investment and bold action to change the fortunes of renters in the DNV.

Our rental crisis has many causes. Almost all of our rental homes are over 40 years old, built before senior levels of government abandoned housing. Locally, we have observed a strong and mobilized resistance towards building any type of apartments across the DNV for the past several decades.  We have elected politicians who pandered to these voices.

While previous councils can’t be blamed for all of the causes, they are directly responsible for one: placing most of our inexpensive, old rental homes in the path of redevelopment.

With their time on Council, Mike Little and Councillor Lisa Muri should have known the impact of their decision would ultimately be the eviction of families.

Pretending differently now either shows willful ignorance or an utter lack of foresight of the consequences of their council decisions. Neither of these should lend them voters’ confidence.

They stood up for the protection of single family neighbourhoods, and placed the burden of growth on the residents who are most vulnerable. And they were re-elected.

They then had the time to react, to build more rental homes and help ease some of the impacts. But they did not. Time after time, they have voted against building rental and more affordable homes.

At Seylynn, both Mike Little and Councillor Muri voted against 70 affordable rental homes, saying it was “too far in the right direction”. In Edgemont, they voted against 115 seniors rental homes, because the 3 story building was “too big.” And near Phibbs Exchange, Councillor Muri voted against 112 rental homes, questioning whether any new rental housing was needed at all.

They chose not to act and left our community, the incoming council and the families living in all our old rental buildings in a situation where solutions are now more complex and where some residents will be priced out of the rental market in the DNV.  

At Emery, the options before the current council were: reject the proposal and hope something better would come along or secure new and safe rental homes for as many families as possible. The window for a more ideal outcome had closed because of the inaction of past iterations of council.

And now Councillor Muri and Mike Little are running together along with Betty Forbes, Barry Forward, ZoAnn Morten, Megan Curran, and Jim Hanson. They are saying they can change the fortunes of renters in North Vancouver. Frankly, it’s too little, too late.

Solving our affordable housing crisis requires a plan.  We have shared our priorities here in response to the Lynn Valley ACM Q & A. We all know what the problem is. We need to move beyond articulating problems.  We need clearly articulated solutions. We are available to discuss the plan this evening or at your convenience in the days to come.