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Vaughn Palmer: Harcourt calls housing crisis a permanent condition, confused by taxes

By Vaughn Palmer for Vancouver Sun

VICTORIA — Former NDP premier Mike Harcourt has some provocative advice for the current crop of New Democrats as they deal with what many regard as a “housing crisis” here in B.C.

“It is not a crisis, it is a permanent condition,” says the former Vancouver mayor in addressing shortages of affordable, rental and social housing. “You have to address supply. You have to speed up approvals.”

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Indeed supply, supply and supply would pretty much constitute the executive summary of Harcourt’s remarks to a media briefing in the provincial capital Tuesday.

For instance, when Harcourt was asked about the “missing middle” — a market awash in one-bedroom condos, multimillion-dollar homes and not nearly enough housing in-between — he rattled off a series of remedies, all controversial.

“I would get rid of single-family zoning,” he said, adding that for Metro Vancouver, “the age of the single-family home is over.”

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