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Region at risk of becoming an international retirement community, says GVBOT

Last Updated May 10, 2018 at 4:37 pm PDT

(Martin MacMahon, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Metro Vancouver could be a retirement hot spot if the housing crisis isn't solved, warns GVBOT

The region's reputation could take a hit as the housing affordability issue remains unsolved

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With a major housing affordability problem and a fractured region, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade says our home is at risk of becoming an international retirement community.

The board has released its 2018 Economic Scorecard.

The overall rating is a “B” but our housing affordability gets a “C.”

“What this report did on the topic of housing affordability is, from an empirical research standpoint, remove any doubt that this is just a passing issue and that it is not a substantial numerical issue, as well,” says GVBOT CEO Iain Black.

Black adds we are going to have major recruitment problems if we don’t address the issue of housing affordability. “You need 12.6 years of your gross income to buy the median priced house in this area. It’s just not sustainable. It’s putting a squeeze on an entire generation.”

He is also calling for the region to act as one more often, and collaborate rather than operate as individual municipalities. He believes our fractured region creates major economic challenges and restricts growth.

“When we first did this two years ago, we spoke of the need to stop acting so parochially and recognize that, for example, if Abbotsford gets 400 jobs, that’s great news for White Rock. And if Richmond gets a $400 million or $500 million investment to build a new manufacturing facility, that’s fantastic news for North Vancouver.

“We have to stop seeing it as competition within the different municipalities,” says Black. “But it goes deeper than that. We have to start coordinating and acting together.”

On governance, the report gives our region a “B.”

The board believes there’s room for improvement. Specifically it recommends that we directly elect Metro Vancouver’s board, centralize economic development and investment promotion — and address the imbalance between what municipalities are expected to spend versus what tools they have to actually raise that cash.