VICTORIA — Former NDP premier Mike Harcourt has some provocative advice for the current crop of New Democrats as they deal with what many regard as a “housing crisis” here in B.C.

“It is not a crisis, it is a permanent condition,” says the former Vancouver mayor in addressing shortages of affordable, rental and social housing. “You have to address supply. You have to speed up approvals.”

Indeed supply, supply and supply would pretty much constitute the executive summary of Harcourt’s remarks to a media briefing in the provincial capital Tuesday.

For instance, when Harcourt was asked about the “missing middle” — a market awash in one-bedroom condos, multimillion-dollar homes and not nearly enough housing in-between — he rattled off a series of remedies, all controversial.

“I would get rid of single-family zoning,” he said, adding that for Metro Vancouver, “the age of the single-family home is over.”

Instead, governments should fast track approval of row housing and two- and three-bedroom townhouses, with increased density around schools, bus lines and rapid transit stations.

The Harcourt vision would see SkyTrain tunnelled all the way to the University of B.C. campus, including a stop at the soon-to-be-developed Jericho lands.

But to finance a line whose cost per kilometre would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, Harcourt would impose highrise densities around the stations. And you think folks on the west side of Vancouver were up in arms over property taxes?

Gone from office for 22 years and counting, Harcourt has a ready response for those taken aback by his provocations on the housing file. When columnist Les Leyne of the Victoria Times Colonist said folks in his neighbourhood would never stand for the end of single-family housing, he fired back: “I don’t have to worry about your neighbours any more, Les — I am not running for anything.”

Harcourt …read more

Source:: Vancouver Sun – Politics

      

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