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EDITORIAL: Despite public health crisis, residential property assessments continue to soar

Prices remain as steep as the Grouse Grind.
Real estate sign
A real estate market that slowed to a crawl in North Van and West Van with the first wave of coronavirus in March and April picked up steam in June.

It seems not even a public health crisis can abate the housing crisis. Residential property assessments of all kinds are up across the North Shore.

Assessments are primarily used for municipalities to set their tax rates and for gossip at (Zoom) cocktail parties, but they do bring into sharp focus one thing: the barrier to entry for home ownership.

At $1.578 million for a typical single-family home in the District of North Vancouver or $690,000 for a condo in the City of North Vancouver, the prices remain as steep as the Grouse Grind.

There are affordable housing projects on the agenda in each of our three municipalities in 2021. We aren’t concerned about whether the current City of North Vancouver council will do the right thing. It’s the other two North Shore governments we’re worried about. West Vancouver council has a history of getting scared off its big picture priorities in the face of local opposition. And while District of North Vancouver council has turned a corner on affordable housing, their record still shows they’ve cancelled more affordable units than they have approved.

This week, we bring you a heart-rending letter from Kim Manhas, a care aide who works at the Capilano Care Centre, the seniors home hit hardest by COVID-19 on the North Shore. She describes the loving attention the staff provide our elders under truly frightening conditions. Yet, she commutes from Surrey.

When our councils dither, delay or deny affordable housing, it’s folks like Manhas we are turning away. In 2021, we cannot afford to say no to these people any longer. On affordable housing, we want our councils to show the same compassion and determination Manhas does.

What are your thoughts? Send us a letter via email by clicking here or post a comment below.