Vancouver homebuilders have lots to vote for in municipal elections on Nov. 15
23 municipalities in the Greater Vancouver Area go to the polls on Saturday, November 15. There are some building and renovation issues that will factor into some of our BC readers decisions
November 12, 2014 by Steve Payne
By David Godkin
Top of mind issue for B.C. renovators: upcoming municipal elections. No fewer than 23 municipalities in Greater Vancouver go to the polls November 15, with builders anxious to elect politicians focussed on streamlining permitting processes and “minimizing transaction costs for producing new housing,” says Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association (GVHBA) head Bob de Wit.
“But we also want to see these guys work together. The outcomes of these mayoral races are quite important to our industry.”
De Wit insists the political leanings of each mayoral candidate are less important than their record on rules for home building and renovation. Burnaby’s mayor, the left leaning Derek Corrigan, for example, is someone GVHBA members might have trouble voting for – but for the fact that “the processes in Burnaby are fairly transparent and predictable. We can do business there,” says de Wit.
Contrast Burnaby’s mayor with Coquitlam’s Richard Stewart “who we all know and love and would all vote for,” says De Wit, “but the wait times in Coquitlam are longer than they are in other cities.” This election GVHBA members also trying to draw attention to affordable new housing, which materializes much faster when city hall is run efficiently.
“Anytime we can be part of the conversation on development costs, processing times we try to speak in favour of those things.”
West Vancouver is one of the richest municipalities in Canada but where residents openly lambast its builder community for the snail’s pace delivery of building services. Should it be an issue for the politicians at voting time instead? “You’d think so,” says Bruno Hogland of My House Design. “But oh my god there’s so many election issues. How do you prioritize?”
Best place to do business in Greater Vancouver? The Township of Langley rates right up there, says de Wit. “Most of our members would say it works fairly well there. The time lines are shorter and generally it’s a great place to do business.” Who will he be voting for this election? De Wit is careful not to say.