Market mechanisms within municipal control

Mr. Jangula’s comments regarding rental housing affordability, which simplify it to an issue of “supply and demand”, ignores the market mechanisms which are very much within municipal control. Onerous building regulations, slow building application turnaround times, and arduous rezoning processes have the net effect of driving up the cost of building, or stymying development all together. This then creates an artificial supply shortage, whether intended or not, that further restricts an already tight rental market. So I suppose Mr. Jangula’s comments were correct, we do indeed have a supply issue.

Examples of this artificial market manipulation are not just present in Courtenay. Comox stands out as the worst offender. Rental properties in Comox have an “owner occupied” requirement for any suite conversions; owners must reside on the property in order for a suite to be legally allowed on the property. This removes property investors from the marketplace, and restricts investments in properties for the purposes of creating rental units. Comox council supports affordable housing initiatives, just NIMBY.

Given the enticement of high rents, the presence of “illegal suites” has also become rampant; with a lack of action by municipal government to change the rules the “black market” has stepped in to fill the demand as it always does. The problem with illegal suites is they lack municipal oversight to ensure the safety of their tenants; fire breaks between the units are not installed, linked smoke alarms are not in place, and the list goes on. In addition to the multitude of safety issues that stem from illegal suites, the municipal government misses out on the tax revenue that could be generated from legalizing these suites. It’s a lose-lose situation for both the tenant and the municipality.

So now that we can agree with Mr. Jangula that we do have an issue that can be boiled down to “supply and demand”, what do our municipal governments plan to do about it? The mechanisms for the supply shortage are very much within their control to manipulate to create affordable and sustainable housing.

The good news is that a co-ordinated effort by our municipal governments can “fix” this problem through simple changes to their zoning bylaws to encourage densification and legal suites. The end result will be safer, more affordable rental housing, and higher municipal tax revenues. Seems like a win-win to me.

Brennan Day

Comox

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chelsea Harry was last seen Feb. 21. Photo via Comox Valley RCMP
Comox Valley RCMP seeking help locating a missing woman

Missing person last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21

A Coast Range Cannabis store has been approved for the Crown Isle Shopping Centre in Courtenay. Photo submitted
Courtenay council approves seventh cannabis retailer

Coast Range Cannabis to open second store in the Comox Valley

A map of the Village Forest Lands near Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland adopts forest management direction statement

Less detailed than full plan, documents sets out decision-making for village-owned land

Gp Vanier in Courtenay. Circa 2018. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools
Another COVID exposure alert for Vanier Secondary in Courtenay

Island Health has sent another exposure alert to parents of students attending… Continue reading

“Of Bears at Fridges, drinking Planes and Cinderella’s Shoe” is Jordis Trumby’s first children’s book. Photo supplied.
Courtenay author writes, illustrates first children’s book

When is a collaboration not a collaboration? At first glance, Courtenay author… Continue reading

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Intiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read