By the time you read this, the newly sworn in Premier will have introduced two new housing bills with one week left in the session.
If that seems rushed it’s because it is.
I am not sure what is in the housing bills yet, although I have some ideas, and I have a wealth of knowledge about housing — having been in the industry for the last twenty five years.
Some of you will remember that Kelowna’s housing industry was not always this robust.
In the 90s, when our economy had tanked, many people left the province looking for work.
From the 90s to the early 2000s, there were no increases in housing prices.
In the 2001, Gordon Campbell and the BC Liberals were elected on a platform that included cutting personal taxes to help stimulate the economy.
BC came back to life — fiscal prudence was brought back to budgeting, and a professionalism about the dates and times of elections, budgets and bills was brought into the Legislative Assembly of BC.
With that positive economic growth, housing started to post modest gains.
These modest gains were decimated by the worldwide recession from 2008-2010.
Thankfully, due to investments of the BC Liberal government in infrastructure like the William R. Bennett bridge, and the expansion of KGH, we saw jobs come back to Kelowna – along with an increase in housing activity.
As things started to heat up to a point that was beginning to get uncomfortable — two things occurred.
First, the BC Liberal government of the day started to invest in rental and subsidized housing.
Secondly, a foreign buyers tax was implemented.
This strategy worked, and BC posted a moderation of housing escalation once again.
The last six years of a BC NDP government has changed that.
Housing prices are skyrocketing under the NDP and the leadership of then Housing Minister Eby, who attempted to quell housing pricing by lowering demand through taxation, without addressing supply.
The speculation tax is an example of this.
Finally, the now-Premier David Eby, has seen the light and acknowledged that increasing supply is the most effective way to address housing costs.
So he intends to table these housing bills this week.
Unfortunately, instead of vigorous debate and thoughtful dialog on amendments to the housing bills brought in, this government wants to slam them through in a week, with little democracy.
Housing is a complex issue and one that desperately needs to be solved. The best ideas and solutions come through dialog and debate.
My question to you this week is this:
Do you think that government should rush these important housing bills through without time for debate?
I love hearing from you. Please email me at Renee.Merrifield.MLA@leg.bc.ca or call my office at 250-712-3620.