Delta needs a home-grown solution to the housing crisis, according to mayoral candidate Sylvia Bishop.
On Monday, Sept. 10, Bishop’s Team Delta slate released A Made-in-Delta Solution: A Research Paper on Affordable Housing and Rental Accommodation, a 16-page paper intended to examine “many of the factors that have impacted the housing market over recent years in British Columbia and the City of Delta,” as well as look at policies put forward by the province and other municipalities.
The paper, released less than a week after Bishop announced she would convene an affordable housing summit within 100 days of the election if she becomes mayor, focused largely on regional statistics that would be familiar to those following the housing situation in Metro Vancouver: population has gone up in cities since the 1980s, as have housing prices for buyers and renters, while vacancy rates have dropped significantly.
“My tenure as a councillor has convinced me that affordable housing and related issues represent a real and growing concern for many if not all Delta families,” Bishop said in a press release.
“The City of Delta has taken some steps to address the issue, but it is increasingly clear that the situation is becoming more urgent, and I believe that the new council elected in October must take prompt and decisive action.”
What that “decisive action” should be is not clear from the information put out in the research paper.
The paper did note that, if elected, Bishop would look at how the city could use the province’s pledge to reduce barriers to affordable housing, put more tax revenue into housing initiatives and create tax exemptions for purpose-built rentals to Delta’s advantage. It also pointed to the “Langford model,” an affordable housing program put forward by the City of Langford in Greater Victoria in 2004, as a potential model for Delta to follow.
Langford has an “inclusionary zoning requirement” that requires one out of every 15 homes to be affordable housing, or for a developer to provide $1,000 to the city’s affordable housing reserve fund. The city has a program to help people purchase affordable housing, both for single-family and multi-family homes. It also has incentives for non-profit housing projects from the reserve fund, so the project can provide lower rents.
Bishop is now one of six candidates for mayor in Delta, running against former police chief Jim Cessford, former city manager George Harvie and newcomers Moneca Kolvyn, Alex Megalos and Vytas Vaitkus.
The civic election takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20, with advanced voting opportunities on Oct. 6, 10 and 11.