VANCOUVER — Vancouver voters will have to choose from a crowded field of 21 candidates for mayor in just a few days.
While they are all vying for the city’s top spot, according to a recent poll by Research Co. the top contenders are Kennedy Stewart at 35 per cent, Shauna Sylvester with 27 per cent, Ken Sim at 20 per cent and Hector Bremner, who sits at 13 per cent.
Many of the frontrunners are campaigning on how they plan to address the city’s growing housing crisis. Here’s how the frontrunners and some of the other candidates plan to address housing and development if elected.
A former member of parliament and current university professor specializing in cities and housing, Stewart plans to build 25,000 new non-profit affordable rental homes and 35,000 new affordable condo, coach house and townhouse units for first time homebuyers in the next decade. Stewart would triple the empty homes tax and fast track the construction of triplexes and fourplexes on standard lots. Purpose-built rental projects would also be expedited.
Sylvester has served on the boards of Vancity, MEC and BC Assessment and has worked with cities on housing, transportation, finance, climate change and innovation. Her platform includes building affordable, purpose-built housing by leveraging city assets and “cutting down red tape.” She would also build the Broadway Subway to the University of British Columbia.
Ken Sim (NPA)
Sim, an entrepreneur, would fast-track housing projects for low-income Vancouverites, vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities. He would also designate City-owned lands for constructing attainable rental accommodation.
Hector Bremner (Yes Vancouver)
Bremner, a Vancouver city council member, intends to build more affordable housing and target speculators rather than homeowners. Bremner also wants to “clean up” the development and permitting process. Specifically, his plan calls for pre-approved designs to allow quick permitting to avoid the time and resources wasted reviewing nearly identical buildings. Bremner aims to approve 50,000 to 75,000 new rental accommodations to flood the market and bring rental costs down.
David Chen (ProVancouver)
Chen is a financial planner and business owner. He advocates for municipal rent control legislation and land use-based zoning for transportation corridors to stop land banking and increase transit accessibility. He also intends to zone new developments for at least 50 per cent purpose-built rentals. Purpose-built rentals would be fast-tracked through the permitting process.
Connie Fogal (IDEA Vancouver)
Fogal, a retired lawyer, has served as Vancouver Park Board Commissioner, leader of the Canadian Action Party, elected representative to Kitsilano’s and Vancouver’s Resources Boards, and plaintiff in lawsuits against globalization and the militarization of Nanoose Bay. Fogel’s platform includes renewing housing co-op leases; eliminating offshore marketing and unfair home taxes; building schools, parks and community spaces; and “zoning for people, not developers.”
Fred Harding (Vancouver 1st)
Harding is a former police detective who served with the West Vancouver Police Department and the Metropolitan Police Service of London. In a promotional video, Harding spoke about wanting to “eliminate unfair taxes,” get the homeless “from welfare to work,” and providing free transit for those 18 and under.
Cassidy was the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Senior Debt Manager in Ottawa. He has also worked in construction and mortgage financing. Cassidy would Increase social housing supply on city-owned land and privately-owned land where social housing was committed but unbuilt. He would fight speculation with presale foreign buyers’ tax and set a land cap to prevent land hoarding. He would also increase commercial office space by dedicating key areas of the downtown core for commercial, not residential use.
Chan, an engineer and a former senior manager in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta’s public works department, would expropriate all vacant lots for more social housing. He would also fast track the construction of new St. Paul Hospital. His goal is to build 85,000 units of housing over the next 10 years, with a focus on affordable rentals for households making less than $80,000 a year.
Yano is an environmental and social justice advocate. He opposes blanket rezoning and instead wants to engage with neighbourhoods to develop plans to increase density, diversity and sustainability that are sensitive to their unique character.
Wai Young (Coalition Vancouver)
Young is a community advocate, business owner and past member of parliament. She is firmly against building new bike lanes and would open some current routes to cars. She is in favour of keeping and improving the Georgia and Dunsmuir Viaducts rather than tearing them down.
Voters go to the polls Oct. 20. Advance voting began Oct. 10 and ends today (Oct. 17). Residents will also choose 10 city councillors, seven commissioners for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation and nine school trustees for the Vancouver School Board.