Talk, talk, talk…
Last Thursday’s edition of the CV Record runs with a headline on page A 16 informing the readers that the Comox Valley is one of the most unaffordable housing markets in BC. This is based on the 15th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Study. It may be argued that the headline is just a tad misleading, as the Comox Valley is not just expensive compared to other BC municipalities, but ranks as the 290th least affordable market out of 309 markets in the world! The ranking for Nanaimo is even worse at 291. Vancouver at 308 is reckoned to be the second most unaffordable market in the world, just behind Hong Kong.
This is nothing to be proud of, but what I find so frustrating is the response from local politicians to call for more and more money from the federal and provincial governments. I for one am inclined to agree with the head of VICA -Vancouver Island Construction Association, that we might actually make more progress on this issue if politicians got out of the way and allowed the private sector to have a go. At a recent workshop hosted by Economic Development, the topic of affordability was raised again. I sat next to a local politician, who commented to the effect that it is all relative, thankful that he doesn’t have to rent an apartment in San Francisco – I say What?! This type of comment suggests to me no real desire to address the issue, but rather just kick the can down the road. With this data from Demographia, and an average lot price of $215,743, it points to a very real failure in our local planning process.