I know the struggles and sacrifices it takes for families, single parents, young people and seniors to remain living here in North Vancouver. I am acutely aware that living in this community is becoming more and more of a privilege.
Lack of Affordable Housing
I have close friends who, after twenty years, left North Vancouver for a more affordable community. And I have another friend who became a single mother raising two children and is concerned she can’t afford to stay. So, I truly understand the challenges residents are facing with the City becoming less and less affordable. Many renters are facing:
- increases in rent
- the threat of ‘renoviction’
- the lack of affordable alternatives on the North Shore
And in many cases, for those who have chosen to leave but remain employed in the City, they are now faced with long commutes.
Through conversations with City businesses, not-for-profits and emergency service providers, including the City Fire Department, I have a clear understanding that there is consensus among City employers that they too want more affordable housing:
- to be able to attract and retain staff for the long term
- for a better work-life balance for their staff
- to reduce traffic congestion caused by employees commuting from other regions
“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”Margaret Wheatley
Lack of Childcare / Morning and After School Care
As a mom of a young child, I have seen firsthand the pressures parents face in finding options for local daycare and morning and after school care programs within the City. Many parents are forced to travel to other jurisdictions to find care, further adding to traffic congestion, but more importantly, negatively impacting daily routines of young children. Further, pre-existing childcare providers are now significantly challenged due a lack of suitable locations to expand in the City.
Traffic Congestion, Transit and Mobility
The lack of affordable housing and limited transit options are two major causes of traffic congestion on the North Shore, which greatly impedes people’s ability to have a healthy work-life balance. City residents are ready for a robust mobility strategy to reduce congestion and pollution. It is important that we promote collaboration between communities.
With climate change affecting us in real ways, the City needs to continue to:
- Promote an increase in green space in new developments to ensure plants and animals thrive in the City
- Reduce our carbon footprint by supporting cleaner, sustainable heat energy sources for our City’s residents, including the expansion of Lonsdale Energy Corporation’s delivery of high-efficiency energy to other parts of the City.
- Promote the reduction in local greenhouse gases but supporting initiatives where residents can “Think Global, Act Local” such as UBC’s Citizen’s Coolkit on Climate Change & Urban Forestry
I am hearing from residents that they want to be more engaged in advance of decisions being made at City Council. We need to encourage more:
- opinion gathering among City residents — as their ‘lived’ experiences do have merit
- public information sharing sessions
- notification to residents of opportunities to be part of a City Advisory Committee