Municipal Elections are Saturday, Oct 20 and voters have two responsibilities – become familiar with the candidates and vote.

Some voters may feel overwhelmed learning the views of a dozen or more mayor and council candidates.

But even voting for a single candidate representing your concerns can make a big difference in how our communities develop.

Your candidate(s) should understand the market forces impacting housing supply and affordability.

They should realize provincial and municipal land use regulations such as zoning and EDPA’s limit affordable land, resulting in housing shortages and rising costs.

Federal, provincial and municipal building code requirements such as Step Code, permit fees, taxes and amenities represent over a quarter million dollars added to the cost of new homes in Greater Victoria.

These regulations, taxes and fees alone cost more than the average home on Canada’s East Coast.

On the other hand, Langford represents the Gold Standard for affordable, energy efficient market housing. They have a strong track record and presently build almost 50% of the housing in the CRD.

But they can’t do it alone. The other 12 municipalities must make housing a priority to ensure affordable homes are available to accommodate young families.

Obstructive permit processes, uncertainty and high costs are all-too-common in our region, especially in Saanich and Victoria.

Candidates must do more than claim to support housing affordability, especially long-term incumbents. When there are housing affordability problems in their municipalities, they must shoulder the responsibility.

To achieve an affordable place to call home, take the time to review candidates demonstrating real knowledge and appreciation of housing supply issues.

Einstein said it best – “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

One vote can make the difference.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist newspaper.

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