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​On March 1, Metro Vancouver sent letters to each of the four main political parties in BC with the seven questions you will see on this website, with a requested response deadline of March 31.

 Letter to BC Liberals

 

  • Affordable Housing


    If elected, what specifically will your party do to support an expanded inventory of affordable rental housing options for Metro Vancouver region?

    Expanding affordable rental housing options is a priority for the BC Liberal government and we have already taken significant steps to address the challenges of a growing population in Metro Vancouver and across the Province. Since 2001, we have invested $6.3 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income British Columbians, vulnerable seniors and families. This includes recent commitments of $920 million to acquire, construct and renovate almost 5,300 rental housing units across the province in the next few years - the largest provincial housing investment in a single year in Canadian history. In Metro Vancouver, approximately 3,400 new housing units are already being developed or are under construction.

    In addition to constructing and renovating new affordable housing units, Today’s BC Liberals also believe that rent supplements give low-income households more options, so British Columbians have more flexibility to choose the neighbourhood they want to live in while helping to keep housing costs within their budget.

    More than 9,400 seniors households in Metro Vancouver receive Shelter Aid for Elderly Residents (SAFER) benefits. With enhanced SAFER benefits, the average monthly payment is expected to rise from $150 to $175.

    We also created the Rental Assistance Program (RAP) to provide low-income working families with cash assistance to help with their monthly rent payments. More than 5,700 low-income working families in Metro Vancouver receive rent assistance to keep the cost of private market rental housing affordable.

    In total, the BC Liberal government assists approximately 60,500 low income individuals, seniors and families each year in Metro Vancouver, and we look forward to the continued opportunity to address affordable rental housing challenges with our local and federal government partners to ensure affordable rental housing options continue to be expanded in the Metro Vancouver region.


    If elected, what specifically will your party do to support the recommendations included in the Regional Homelessness Task Force Position Paper?

    Together with our partners, Today’s BC Liberal government invested more than $375 million in Metro Vancouver last year to provide affordable housing and rent supplements, helping more than 61,000 individuals and families. This includes over $138 million for emergency shelters and housing for those who are homeless. Throughout the region we have hard-working outreach teams connecting those who are homeless with housing and assistance to help them stabilize their lives, including access to mental health and addiction services. To support this endeavor, funding for supportive housing, rent supplements and outreach services has more than doubled since 2011, totaling $89 million annually. In the past year, we have committed $136 million in additional funding to construct and renovate 1,800 units of affordable rental housing in Metro Vancouver, and we will continue to partner with local governments and our federal counterparts to build on these achievements.

    Addressing homelessness is a complex challenge – but we are making great strides with our partners to help people in our communities who need it the most.

  • Building Better Transit


    If elected, what specifically will your party do to help TransLink and the Mayors' Council deliver Phase Two of the 10-Year Vision for Transit and Transportation in Metro Vancouver, and how quickly do you foresee Phase Two proceeding?

    As we invest unprecedented dollars in Metro Vancouver transit, we have an opportunity to ensure we do so in the smartest way possible, for the 21st century and beyond. Our vision is to build communities connected by transit, with affordable housing, leaving a smaller environmental footprint. This will help ensure Metro Vancouver grows in a way that limits congestion, cuts emissions, and gives people more time with their families.

    Today’s BC Liberal government was pleased to be the first jurisdiction in Canada to sign a transit agreement with our federal partners. As a result, investments in Phase 1 of the 10-Year Vision for Transit and Transportation in Metro Vancouver are now underway. This $2 billion expenditure includes:

    • Additional SkyTrain vehicles for the Expo, Millennium, and Canada Lines;
    • A new West Coast Express locomotive;
    • A new SeaBus;
    • Upgrades to SkyTrain stations; and
    • Design and planning for Rapid Transit South of the Fraser and the Millennium Line Extension along Broadway.

    With these historic commitments, we will work with all of our partners to help find the remaining funding to make these projects a reality and improve transit in Metro Vancouver. Today’s BC Liberals will match the federal government’s $2.2 billion investment in Metro Vancouver transit projects over 11 years. We are committed to negotiating with all three levels of government on project specifics, with the Surrey LRT Project and the Broadway Line our top two priorities. We will also continue working constructively with the Mayor’s Council to move forward on their 10-year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transportation.


  • Protecting the Environment


    If elected, will your party commit to working with Metro Vancouver and industry to expand provincial EPR programs to include mattresses, furniture, and other large, bulky items by 2018?

    BC is a recognized leader for EPR programs across North America, with the most extensive series of established program operating in a well-respected, results-based approach. Today’s BC Liberals will maintain the leadership position we have earned and continue to expand our EPR programs. Furniture, including mattresses and sofas, is certainly one area we could consider for future growth.

    Local government engagement in EPR is fundamental to the success of the program. If re-elected, Today’s BC Liberals will continue to engage directly with Metro Vancouver to strengthen our current programs and to focus on future opportunities for EPR.


  • Working with Metro Vancouver


    If elected, will your party be willing to strike an ad-hoc Committee comprising members of Cabinet and elected officials from Metro Vancouver that would meet regularly to discuss issues of common concern?

    Today’s BC Liberals are always willing to meet with local government officials from Metro Vancouver to discuss issues of common concern.


    If elected, how will your party commit to providing long-term, sustainable funding to Metro Vancouver for large capital projects such as upgrades to the Lions Gate and Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plants, which under federal regulation must be completed by 2020 and 2030 respectively and that combined will cost in excess of $1.7 billion?

    Our BC Liberal government has always recognized the need for the provincial government and local governments to work together on major infrastructure projects. We remain committed to investing in modern and efficient infrastructure to meet the growing needs of communities, expand our economy, and protect the environment.

    This commitment is reflected in our recent investment in the Lions Gate Wastewater Treatment Plant. With our federal partners, Today’s BC Liberal government is contributing $405 million to this vital $700 million project. The new facility will be located on a Metro Vancouver-owned site in the District of North Vancouver. Once completed, the districts of West and North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, and the Squamish Nation will be able to depend on an improved, modern, and reliable wastewater system. As a result of this funding, this new facility is expected to be operating by 2020.

    If re-elected, we will continue working with Metro Vancouver to ensure further critical investments are made. In terms of specific infrastructure program requests and potential new revenue streams for local governments, Today’s BC Liberals would certainly be prepared to consider any proposal Metro Vancouver would like to put forward, keeping in mind that there is only one taxpayer and we cannot mortgage our children’s future tomorrow by overspending, today. We need to live within our means and control government spending, grow the economy, create jobs and keep taxes low for families and businesses so that we continue to attract both people and investment to our province.


    If elected, will your party commit to supporting changes to the Home Owner Grant program that provide a fairer and more equitable property taxation system in BC, and if so, how?