Jun 152017

Melissa Hailey and Chris Graham

On a potpourri of municipal issues

On the heels of their recent attendance at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities Conference in Ottawa (June 1-4), we are joined in studio by Chris Graham, councillor of Central Saanich (Victoria) BC, and Melissa Hailey, former councillor who served in Sidney BC.

Remarkably, each set a record for being the youngest (male and female) municipal councillor in Canada when first elected. Today, many years after their first election, our guests share their experiences, views and opinions on a potpourri of municipal issues.

As in Ontario, British Columbia is experiencing skyrocketing housing costs. Is the problem foreign investment and capital increasing the local demand? Or is the problem on the supply side of the housing equation?

Both Ontario and British Columbia imposed a 15% tax on non-resident home buyers, though unlike Ontario’s province-wide tax, BC only imposed the tax on purchases made in Vancouver.

“It’s a market-driven problem and a supply and demand issue as well,” notes Chris on the housing price crisis. “Municipalities make it very difficult to build new housing. We must find ways to make the construction of new housing easier, not cheaper! … so that new housing can come on line to increase the supply.”

Increasing the housing supply might be easier said than done when it comes to having to deal with local government bureaucracy. “Every elected official should be forced to build their own house in their municipality and have to jump through all the hoops,” adds Melissa.

From housing prices to electoral reform and alternate ways of electing municipal representatives, today’s discussion presents a surprising array of differing municipal options and choices that, for the communities that adopt them, could all be Just Right.

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