March 30, 2016

Goodbye Vancouver? Not if we can help it...

Jennifer Fox photo submitted to The Province

Jennifer Fox, wrote a comment piece in the Province recently with the title "Goodbye Vancouver, you should go and love yourself." Ms Fox is a founding member of the Association for Generational Equity and co-ordinates Generation Squeeze social media activities at gensqueeze.ca. She's had enough with this hedge city, and she's moving to Halifax of all places.





In fact, after eight years in an abusive relationship with our city, she's leaving. And she joins the exodus from Vancouver of more than a thousand young people every year since 2012 (age cohort: 25 to 44).

Like many others, Ms Fox has had it with precarious work, low wages, unaffordable housing, and social isolation.
Sure, I managed to pay rent on a 380-square-foot apartment and eat takeout sushi once in while, but I definitely haven’t saved for retirement or been able to afford to give birth yet. I’ve spent most of my 30s on the west coast (land of economic opportunities?) while I watched my friends on the east coast (with less education than me) buy four -bedroom houses and multiple cars.
And this from a young woman with three degrees and a job. She can afford to leave, unlike many others. Over thirty percent of all single adults residing in Vancouver live below the poverty line.
So, goodbye, Vancouver. You have lost a politically engaged citizen and a Big Sisters volunteer. You have lost a social-justice advocate and a caring neighbour.
I’m leaving because I can’t afford to live here anymore. I can’t afford to pay rent and utilities that increase every year when my salary does not. I can’t afford to wait 23 years — the average time it takes to save for a down payment — for a home in this city.

There is something wrong with the scenario the BC Liberals have created. With the lowest minimum wage and the highest child poverty rates in Canada, we have a great deal of work to do. House prices in Vancouver increased over 20 percent last year alone! While Christy Clark poses for photo-ops, New Democrats took the lead, listening to people and facing the issue.

Housing Town Hall March 16. Photo by CBC.
Eight hundred came out to a town hall meeting organised by David Eby, John Horgan and the NDP a few weeks ago. They discussed Vancouver's out-of-control real estate and rental market and tried to find solutions to the problem.

For some, and it's truly unfortunate, and it's our loss, saying "Goodbye" is the answer. For the rest of us, it's time to work for change. Vancouver should be a place for all of us, not just a "hedge city" for the rich. If you agree, consider joining us.

Jim Murray
President, Vancouver-Langara NDP 
Constituency Association

The opinions expressed are those of the writer 
and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Constituency Association or the BC NDP. 

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