A tale of two fora

Post by Mike Klassen in

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Affordable Housing
In search of the dream of affordable housing

Just a quick observation on a pair of events coming up on the calendar on to the subject of building housing. One forum is taking place in West Vancouver, which is not a city that leaps to mind on the topic of progressive housing policies. West Vancouver has always taken the term "conservative" to extremes and is a veritable bug frozen in amber when it comes to any kind of change in its urban form.

It may not occur to many of us but there are many folks on low incomes living in West Vancouver that might like a little more housing choice than currently exists. The city is looking for housing that "fits in" with what the community perceives as acceptable and "fits us", as in the folks that already live there. I might be misinterpreting the title of the forum the city is hosting, but it sounds like an extremely cautious approach to the future.

The panel features the always provocative Michael Geller and the event is being moderated by Gord Price. At least with folks like these in the room you'll have your thinking challenged somewhat. It also helps that Geller brings a lifetime of experience as a developer. The event takes place at the Kay Meek Centre on the evening of May 18th. See their website for details.

On the flip-side is a "housing" event staged by COPE. I'm sincere when I say that it would be great if folks like David Chudnovsky, David Eby & Jean Swanson could find the magic bullet for housing affordability, but there isn't a hope that this all day event will come close to coming up with a single good idea. Perhaps the most obvious reason is the fact that they've invited no one who either builds or finances housing in Metro Vancouver – or anywhere else for that matter!

Their website says:

COPE is sponsoring a day-long discussion about SOLUTIONS to these problems.  What can city government do?  What can neighbourhoods do?  What can non-profits do?  What should we expect from the private sector?  What about co-ops?  What are the new and creative SOLUTIONS to the housing crisis?

Gawd, this is what makes me crazy about COPE and their left wing ideologues. They are unprepared to go toe-to-toe in a civil conversation with capitalists. The whole event, from the invited panelists to the way they've framed the questions is designed to reaffirm all their old notions about housing. This is why COPE is going the way of the dinosaurs in 2011.

COPE, seriously, pull your head out of the sand. Vision has handed you a swath of election issues, yet you continue madly gulp down your own bathwater. History has shown that you can do much better.

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For what it is worth, COPE did invite me to participate in its housing forum, and I would have, but was previously scheduled to speak in Windsor Ontario the same day. I am looking forward to an account of the recommendations from the COPE session.

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