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Political Will Makes a Difference

Since the municipal elections last year, there have been efforts to address the important issue of housing affordability in core municipalities. 

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps created a Task Force providing recommendations ranging from more efficient processes to density relaxation.  

Saanich Councillor Fred Haynes initiated resolutions to bring forward to the Union of BC Municipalities and senior levels of government including reviews of renovation tax credits, Property Transfer Taxes, seniors housing, and building code changes. 

Victoria’s recommendations and Saanich’s resolutions may be found at our website at

The Victoria Residential Builders Association writes weekly in the Times Colonist and on our website about issues impacting affordability.

However, political will is necessary to achieve change.

Quebec did not wait for the federal government to reinstate renovation tax credits – they initiated their own program last year. 

Brandon, Manitoba initiated a tax credit program at the municipal level in 2007.

Their programs encourage energy efficiency in older homes, assist homeowners with the costs of dealing with asbestos mitigation, and discourage the underground economy.

Lisa Helps and Fred Haynes are making efforts to consult, then arrive at solutions to improve affordability and living conditions for all in our community including young families, seniors and new arrivals.

We’re not there yet, but it’s a good start – and these elected officials are to be congratulated for their efforts.

Political will makes a difference. 

Visit us at and view award-winning homes at

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter. 

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