There are a lot of worried residents in Burnaby nowadays.
There are the renters in older apartments wondering if (or rather when) their lodgings will be slated for demolition and replaced by a new highrise. There are the seniors who own their own million-dollar homes but are wondering how they are going to be able to pay their taxes. There are the working young people who are trying to find an apartment that isn’t going to eat half their paycheque to rent. There are the single moms and dads who are pondering moving out of B.C. just so they can afford to live in decent housing. There are the folks with good jobs who are leasing small condos in the new towers at very high prices, wondering if they’ll ever be able to save enough to buy their own. And then there are the folks in co-ops who are wondering how they will be able to stay in their homes if subsidies don’t continue for many co-ops (see our front-page story).
Now, we’re not very optimistic where housing, rational policies and politics are concerned. The scales are definitely tipped towards developers and profiteering. And while all governments pay lip service to the idea that everybody deserves a clean, decent place to live, no government has made that a true priority.
Housing policies land in the spotlight when things hit crisis points, or when voters manage to apply sufficient pressure to get government attention. And solutions are slow to arrive.
Thankfully Burnaby is now getting on board. The city will help with a new 14-storey mixed development with social housing in the Metrotown area (see story on page 5). It’s not going to tip the scales back significantly, but it is a good step.
And we are cautiously optimistic the federal government will keep some sort of subsidy for co-op housing residents.
Co-op housing makes an incredible amount of common sense today. We need more of it, not less of it.
In fact, we hope all three levels of government will step up and work toward creating more co-op housing. Co-op housing is about community, not investment speculation. And we’re always better off with people who want to create communities in our city.