City councillor Nick Volkow isn’t backing down from his stinging observations of the current real estate market in Metro Vancouver, despite a critical letter from the local board that represents the industry.
Earlier this month, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver wrote a letter to Burnaby city council refuting comments the councillor made during an interview with CBC Radio on the issue of property assessments.
The letter from the board, signed by its president Darcy McLeod, takes issue with this specific statement he made:
“The Canadian Real Estate Association, our local real estate board, and the local development community won’t be happy until every little chunk of the ALR is paved over in order to satisfy what they claim is the inability to be able to build in this community in order to bring prices down.”
Volkow said it wasn’t the most “artful” way to make his point, but he’s not taking the comments back or apologizing.
“I’m usually unartful, but usually the point comes across, and it must have come across because they took great umbrage to it,” he told the NOW. “They’re very sensitive at the Greater Vancouver real estate board.”
Volkow also said it was his job as a councillor to speak out on the issue.
The city councillor has been vocal about the local real estate market in recent months after getting an assessment on his own property that increased by 35 per cent.
Specifically, the value of Volkow’s home on Gilpin Crescent increases to $1.31 million from $956,000 just a year ago.
He’s concerned young people will continue to be squeezed out of the market and has called for what he described as an “onerous” speculation or vacancy tax.
But the letter from the real estate board claims his statement “has no basis in fact,” noting the organization publicly supported the creation of the Agricultural Land Reserve in the 1970s and continues to support its existence today.
“Making inaccurate comments in the media about their professional association needlessly places a negative light on these hard-working professionals. In future, we ask that your city’s representatives take greater care to understand our organization, and our members, before speaking about us publicly,” the letter said.
The NOW reached out to the board’s president but did not receive a comment before press deadline.