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Dan Fumano: ‘Postpone and delay’ — council defers rental incentives


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But council didn’t approve, reject or modify the proposed changes. Instead, they voted, 6-5, to defer the decision to some point in the future pending further consultation.

There was a stark difference in the way some councillors described the situation at the July 24 meeting, which ran until 10 p.m. on a Friday as council worked through several days of packed agendas before their August break.

For NPA Coun. Colleen Hardwick, things were moving too fast, she saying these changes shouldn’t be “rushed through.”

“There is no need to push this through now,” Hardwick said. “We are in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of summer, and many residents are not aware of the major changes being proposed here tonight.”

On the other end of the spectrum, Mayor Kennedy Stewart said this council is gaining a reputation for moving too slowly to address what most of them have described as a housing crisis.

“We’re criticized as a council for delaying, for being slower than most other municipalities,” Stewart told council. “I want to vote on this this evening, and I want to get on with building more rental housing in this city.”

As Stewart pointed out, in the commercial zones council was looking at, developers can currently build four-storey condo projects without seeking a rezoning. Stewart wants to push developers toward building more rentals, saying: “I cannot vote for more condos.”

Other councillors too insisted it was worth acting quickly. OneCity Coun. Christine Boyle, and NPA councillors Melissa De Genova, Lisa Dominato, and Sarah Kirby-Yung, also opposed the delay.



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B.C. notaries say first-time home buyers relying on bank of mom and dad


However, only eight per cent of first-time-buyer clients got more than half of their down payments from parents, compared with 19 per cent in 2015.

“While more first-time buyers are getting financial help, they appear to be getting a lower proportion of their down payment over the last four years,” the report states.

Fifty-nine per cent of notaries said their clients typically get less than 25 per cent of the down payment, while a third said their clients typically got between 25-50 per cent of their down payment.

The survey, released Monday, found 74 per cent of notaries thought house prices were an issue in their communities. Only notaries in northern B.C. and the Okanagan indicated “house prices were not an issue in their community.”

Notaries also reported increased mortgage restrictions and lack of supply were making it harder for first-time buyers than in previous years.

In the Fraser Valley, notaries reported more first-timers were buying strata units compared with other years.

Northern B.C. was the standout in the report, with 40 per cent of notaries saying there had been an increase in first-time-owner activity — provincially it was reported to be flat. This was attributed to resource sector growth. The multibillion-dollar Site C dam and LNG Canada projects are underway in northern B.C.

Northern B.C. is also expected to be one of the few areas in the province that will see climbs in assessed values when the 2020 assessment roll is released Jan. 1, 2020.

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