To the editor,
To address the residential home shortage, the provincial governments should consider more control over housing construction. The market segment now being favoured is high-end single family housing. Both California and New Zealand have introduced legislation banning restrictive single-family zoning which is almost exclusively a North American phenomena based on the automobile. It is not a magic bullet, but when the lion’s share of land is zoned for single-family, this is the biggest single change governments can make to help the supply of suitable market family units.
As the post-war high birth rate group ages and needs to downsize, providing smaller senior and small family housing should be on top of the list. It creates mobility and places the larger existing homes on the market.
The B.C. government should also review the impact of annual assessments. There is considerable anecdotal evidence that the sale of a few properties set a new value standard without any underlying substantive financial reasons. Municipal governments are frequently challenged to explain why their revenue requisition increase does not align with the tax increases or decreases of individual home owners and indirectly to tenants. Sometimes the deviation from the average reaches unreasonable numbers – 15 to 25 per cent is not uncommon. The unintended consequences generate mistrust of local governments. To temper the impact of the annual evaluations, B.C. Assessment should give serious consideration to use a three- or five-year moving average.
J.A. de Jong, Lantzville
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