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Boom, Bust & Echo: Summer Reading for BC Govt

It’s been more than 20 years since demographer David Foot released his bestseller Boom, Bust & Echo and the message still rings true.

“When you get a big group of people moving through the same stage of their life at the same time, that’s what generates the mega-trends around us,” says Foot.

BC’s housing boom and shortage was predictable and the govt could have planned far in advance.

Instead, the govt choked housing with regional greenbelts (ALR), is adding more tax (PTT, Speculation Tax, School Tax) and costly building regulations (Step Code).

The province’s policy of self-determination for municipalities undermined regional urban planning required for greenbelts – planning that would have increased density and efficiency in urban areas intended for homes.

The result is a lack of infrastructure and transportation like LRT while govt costs have added more than a quarter million dollars to the cost of a new home in Victoria.

Demand is coming from a very large demographic called the millennial generation. They’re getting traction in a strong economy and are at the homebuying stage.

Ryerson University’s Centre for Urban Research says 1.9 million millennials in the Toronto region are the largest source of housing demand. A shortfall of 70,000 low-rise homes is predicted unless supply is significantly increased.

We have similar challenges in BC, yet the govt blames and taxes out-of-province Canadians and retirees for housing shortages that were clearly predictable.

The lesson is govts can’t choke housing with taxes, regulations, greenbelts and 13 local community plans without creating housing shortages and sending prices spiraling upwards.

Add a huge generation of millennials and it’s a recipe for a housing crisis.

It’s long overdue for Boom, Bust & Echo to be on the BC govt’s reading list.

(VRBA’s CFAX radio ad and webpage opposing the Speculation Tax is here.)

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist. 

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One response to "Boom, Bust & Echo: Summer Reading for BC Govt"

  1. Mike C. Oct 30, 2018 at 12:55

    What a novel idea, assigned reading for government officials and employees. Perhaps they could also catch up on some “Common Sense” literature. But, this would mean taking time away from their planning of vacations, figuring out future pensions, flex days, departmental award luncheons (everyone gets a ribbon), or actually doing any meaningful work on behalf of their employers, the taxpayers.
    As for the housing crisis, look no further than Metchosin and East Sooke. There is no shortage of land for possible development, constrained only by the brain-dead local NIMBY’s. Misled by a vocal minority of anti-growth and development, they continue to fail with their irrelevant social responsibility initiatives.


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