I couldn’t resist your call for letters on why all levels of government are so ineffective on housing (Pique, Sept. 8, “The long and short(term) of renting in Whistler”). It comes down to a few key points.
First, in 1983, the B.C. government ended rent control. Had they not bowed to demands from landlords and kept monthly rents under control, we would not be seeing the stratospheric rents today. Ending rent control was the single biggest policy mistake made on housing.
Second, all levels of government gleefully collect every tax, levy, fee, and development permit cost they can think of. This cash cow has been milked for so long governments simply cannot afford to streamline, reduce, or remove these costs. It would affect the bottom line of every branch of government in our province. They do not want to change the process, as it is too lucrative for them.
Third, the federal government stopped funding non-profit housing in the 1990’s. The effects of this are starkly obvious to anyone renting in our country today. For-profit housing has become a monster of the government’s making. With no investment and little federal oversight over three decades, Ottawa is now scratching its head and wondering what went wrong.
Lastly, short-term rentals have had a disastrous effect on rental availability in every market worldwide. Governments are starting to realize that perhaps they should not have commodified rental housing. If there’s a politician at any level of government in our province prepared to seriously restrict short-term rentals, you have my vote.