October 10, 2018

Spending Those CAC Dollars — 2018 Vancouver Civic Election

CAC-like money for everyone!

Hot on the heels of Price Tags’ post on the basics of what CAC actually is, here’s a Vancouver civic election party promising to enable, collect and spend CAC-like proceeds in a voter-friendly way.

Yes Vancouver“Public policy changes to build the new housing we need will also create new wealth… We are going to capture part of that value for the direct benefit of the public so no one is left behind.”

Yes Vancouver is the Bremner party, who talk of a “Vancouver Housing Dividend“. The party foresees a large building boom upcoming from “legalizing middle class housing”, a.k.a. city-wide rezoning of a lot of land.  YV sees new housing starts rising to 20,000 per year from the current 6,000, which YV calls one of the biggest building booms in the history of Vancouver.

That any ambitious politician would propose such massive changes to the sacred single-family ‘hoods that occupy some 70-odd % of the land in Vancouver is astonishing in itself.  But to so clearly identify with the needs and to court the votes of renters is, to me, unprecedented.  It may be a set of ideas that, once released, are impossible to cram back into the basement corner. It’s a spotlight on political interest in a rising class segment in Vancouver, and a major skirmish in our city’s clash of cultures.

So Mr. Bremner, you may not win the Mayor’s seat, or council, but maybe we’ll all be winners in the long run.

Perhaps now we begin to understand why the NPA vetoed Mr. Bremner’s mayoral candidacy.  (They do seem to love the veto). His ideas are too much of a threat to the comfortable landowners in single family neighbourhoods, who are the base of NPA support, and have been for decades.  And focusing on renters at all — oh, the horror. Talk about afflicting the comfortable, while comforting the afflicted. 

But back to election promises.

As land zoning is changed, YV evidently plans to encourage builders and house-rich homeowners to contribute voluntarily to a CAC-ish fund based on the new value created.  They calculate the yearly bonanza to be in the $ 200M range. At-risk renters will get 50%, once approved, and the wider community will get the other 50% (co-ops, transit, childcare, affordable housing, city administration, etc).

Says Yes Vancouver:

Builders contributing to the fund will benefit from front-of-the-line access to building permits as well as density and square footage bonuses that will enable them to afford their contributions when units are sold.  The programs will see new housing starts more than double while drastically cutting rezoning times.  The Vancouver Housing Dividend will participate financially in the new value that is created through new zoning policies, and redistribute proceeds for the benefit of our community.

Detached homeowners could potentially see permitted density more than double on their lots offering projected incremental profits of $350K to $500K+ per additional [infill] home under proposed new zoning.   Program rules would assist detached homeowners who are ‘house rich’ but ‘cash poor’ enabling them to tap equity to build infill homes, pay off mortgages and debt, contribute to retirement planning / aging-in-place, create homes for family members (elderly, and adult children) etc.  Property taxes would also be reduced proportionally by dividing taxes between resulting strata lots.

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