Richmond-Steveston’s three candidates took part in a virtual Zoom debate Thursday afternoon ahead of the Oct. 24 provincial election.
Kelly Greene (BC NDP), Matt Pitcairn (BC Liberals) and Vince Li (Independent) debated the Massey Crossing, healthcare/Richmond Hospital, housing and answered questions from News readers.
During the section on housing, candidates spoke to how they have been affected by B.C.’s affordability crisis – and the need for more supply.
“My family has had our share of struggles in the housing market, especially in the recent years as we started having children and needed space to raise our family,” said Pitcairn.
He said the province and cities across the region have a duty to work together to meet the needs of the population, adding the Liberals have committed to an incentive fund for municipalities and are looking at introducing a speculation tax focused on flipping properties.
Greene said that it was important to keep the empty homes tax, which is encouraging people to get those properties rented.
“It brought 10,000 homes back onto the market – that’s an independent figure. That’s not something that came from the party,” she said.
The NDP, Greene added, would take the revenue from the empty homes tax and build housing with it.
Li spoke to his own, recent experience with unaffordability. During the pandemic, he said he had to apply for a rent deferral for six months.
“So I really understand housing, how important that is,” he said.
Li said B.C. should look at what other countries are doing, citing Singapore’s government housing.
But the province also needs to focus on building more supply.
“It’s a really simple principle here. If you have a lot of demand, you give a lot of supply,” said Li.