Urgent: Vision playing dirty to ram rezoning motion through council bypassing public input

After telling people that the backup time for today’s mass rezoning public hearing is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3PM, Mayor Gregor Robertson decided to suddenly recommence the hearing at 11AM, without any notification to the people who had left home for the night expecting to come back at 3 O’clock tomorrow.

Thanks to a little bit of push back from Councillor Adriane Carr, the mayor came to compromise and now the public hearing will start at 1PM tomorrow. But many people will are unaware that the public hearing is happening earlier than scheduled. And many can’t take time off from work to attend the public hearing at 1PM.

Vision Vancouver’s playing dirty to undemocratically ram mass rezoning through the council. We need your help. They’re making a mockery of a “public hearing” by making it as inaccessible to the public as possible.

We still can stop Vision lame ducks in their tracks. Please turn up en masse to the Vancouver City Council tomorrow (Wednesday) at 1PM and ask to speak. The council must listen to each and everyone one of you who signs up to speak. We need hundreds of people to show up and demand to speak. Please invite everyone you know who are retired or taking a day off tomorrow. Let’s unite as one people to stop Vision’s vile assault on democracy.

[Photo Credit: Tyler Ingram]

Don’t let a callous City Hall bulldoze our neighbourhoods

Update 8:30AM: Vision Vancouver is playing dirty again! The online sign ups for public hearings are supposed to end an hour before the hearings open. But they closed the hearings for mass rezoning the night before. If you haven’t already registered, please go to the city hall in person before 2:30PM and register to speak. Or you can turn up and wait your turn. The council has to listen to everyone who’s there.

Update 9:00AM: The City Clerk reopened online sign ups following my complaint.

The bulldozers are coming for our neighbourhoods. The Vancouver city council will vote today, Tuesday September 18, to make Vancouver a free-for-all for developers who pour millions into Vision Vancouver coffers. This is the final act of depravity of a Vision’s mayor and council that has ridden roughshod over our communities for a decade.

Vision’s vision of Vancouver is a jungle of glass and concrete luxury condo skyscrapers built by the likes of Westbank, Onni, Concord Pacific and Aquilini giving a permanent middle finger to the citizens left despondent by crushing unaffordability. There’s no place in their emerald city for nurses, teachers, police officers and other women and men who serve our citizens with unwavering dedication.

But we have the power to stop Vision lame ducks in their tracks. Vancouver City Council will hold a public hearing before the vote on the 18th. The council is required by law to listen to every speaker who signs up to speak. The council can hear approximately 10 speakers a night. So, if thousands of Vancouverites sign up to speak, we can delay it till the next election.

I urge you to sign up, make your voice heard, and take part in the citizen filibuster to thwart Gregor and co’s last attempt to drive the knife further into our beloved city’s dying heart. If we don’t stop Vision mayor and council from going through with their final act of wanton debasement, we’ll be allowing them to permanently disfigure our neighbourhoods, snuff life out of our communities, and turn Vancouver into one gaudy gambling resort for the global rich.

I believe we should take care of those who take care of us. I dream of a place where those who contribute to our communities are able to afford to live in the city. I’m running for Vancouver city councillor to see that dream come true. Please help me by donating and volunteering to my campaign.

578 new Airbnb listings added in the last 10 days

Vancouver’s chief licencing officer announced with much fanfare that the number of Airbnb listings in the city have dropped from around 6,600 in April to just 3,742 in September. But in just 10 days since the City of Vancouver’s September 5 announcement, hosts have added 578 news listings, bringing the total to 4,320.

Out of these 578 listings, at least 400 appear to be listings claiming dubious exemptions, or listings with obviously fake, incorrect or duplicate licences.

To meaningfully protect our long term rental market from being decimated by Airbnb and other short term accommodation platforms, we must take the following steps:

  1. Introduce licence auto-verification, so, we can nip unlicensed units and licence cheats in the bud
  2. Introduce a tough new bylaw and agreements that hold platforms accountable for the hosts’ actions
  3. Make Airbnb fines lienable, so that the city can place liens against egregious violators who refuse to pay the fines

At the same time, the City should use fines collected from short term rental violators to help the Airbnb’s greatest victims: the renters.

Vancouver has a fake Airbnb licence problem

Airbnb hosts seem to be getting around the new City of Vancouver’s licensing requirements by using brazenly fake licences. Some fine examples include “12345678str”, “000000000” and “Exampp”.

ListingLicenceRoom TypeNamePrimary Host IDMin. Nights
197221420entire_homeModern Strathcona Garden Suite367187462
2755792400-0000entire_homeKits summer suite2079252221
246318798-555339entire_homeThe Cozy Garden Suite1861425361
2492020813-124323shared_roomBright room by the beach1682346871
2801036415-595467private_roomOak House - Room 3 Newly Renovated Character Home1326870121
2582238616-102468entire_home?????????????????1940389583
2641803716-904523entire_homeModern Loft - The Flats in Chinatown203018222
2805811516-6767678entire_homeLangara Guesthouse2119646141
1260299317-2341Aprivate_room#32 Wow ~ View, Kits Location. Min. 30 day stay.316850275
2780565717-14567entire_homeJoyce two bedroom396744921
2453525917-23487entire_homeNew York Style Down Town Loft One Bed in Yaletown311890711
2121992117-100317entire_homeLOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!1533086792
1488890317-101096entire_homeModern Yaletown Studio close to everything no pkng668454672
2763748317-101101entire_homeWater View Sanctuary2085629411
2378997217-101196entire_homeGastown Style with a View12698593
2567952017-101597entire_homeHeart of Yaletown933800354
2821843917-101598entire_homeNEW Spacious studio in the heart of Downtown!2131387852
2467763717-108090entire_homeSophisticated & Luxurious 1 Bdrm23008981
1188980717-111993entire_homeSPECIAL Kitsilano Bright Van 2 bedroom295815351
2719833317-113568entire_homeOne Bedroom & Den in Yaletown with View & Parking2048125532
1969805717-147787entire_homeCozy and Spacious House in Beautiful Neighbourhood1387723052
2615785317-227772entire_homeDowntown 1 Bedroom & Bath with Den/Office1108190914
281203817-241295entire_homeVancouver 2 bd trendy Main street52138921
2219780217-573612entire_homeCozy Apartment in the heart of Yaletown1622036641
2813686617-614632entire_homeDowntown Luxury with stunning view 1.5 bedroom apt362384763
2476093417-873475entire_homeUpscale And Modern 2 BR In The Heart Of Downtown!123336102
1137127917-905634entire_homePrivate Garden suite: Nice views AVAIL SEPT 14-1698816412
2701947219-102359entire_homeYaletown Condo/Free Parking/24 Hour Gym725373823
2324123120-856044entire_homeMODERN & BEAUTIFUL 2BR in the Heart of Downtown!1711493035
65998686-13134private_roomNear DOWNTOWN+CAMBIE---PRIVATE BATH848203
491606486-13134private_roomBRIGHT ROOM near BC HOSPITALS / SKYTRAIN/ DOWNTOWN848201
27134169123123entire_homePrivate Space in the East Village604117421
26786562589779private_roomBright Beautiful Room349454831
27086551589779private_roomSimple room for solo travelers349454831
27085753589779private_roomBeautiful master bedroom349454831
27085935589779private_roomQuite room in Kerrisdale349454831
27092067589779private_roomPrivate room in Kerrisdale349454831
27579649589779entire_homeBig Beautiful home349454833
2532592512345678strentire_homeMi Casa Su Casa - My House Is Your House1906932941
2714231117101095entire_homeLovely Penthouse - View - Heart of Downtown1979815091
23353187878287762entire_homeLuxury 2 Bd,2bath Downtown w/Street Level Entrance750021972
21345540C27562bcentire_homeLuxury Bar Boat fits 10532281921
27954001DB-2017-05485private_roomGuest House-4 Convenient to Downtown2111407382
27957252DB-2017-05485private_roomGuest House-6 Convenient to Downtown2111407383
27675765Examppprivate_roomVancouver Multi-unit building859952961
17833138Excemptentire_homePanoramic Water + Mountain View in Gastown1217869064
25426653Pendingentire_homeCharming Laneway Home in the Heart of East Van84002153
26495317pending approvalprivate_roomBeautiful kingsize room in the heart of East Van!1129546732
26496921pending approvalentire_homeBeautiful 2 bed kingsize garden suite in East Van!1129546733
17404142STR8549512entire_homeNEW 2BR private suite, near subway, city centre143010355
26997674STR8549599shared_roomNew house Super luxury Excellent room balcony .964657031
111077STR8613765entire_homeClean and Comfy, 2 Bd, Walk to the Drive5696823
6285444Valid Vancouver Airbnb businesentire_homeDesigner Home w/PLAYROOM 5min to Downtown16159392

To meaningfully protect our long term rental market from being decimated by Airbnb and other short term accommodation platforms, we must take the following steps:

  1. Introduce licence auto-verification, so, we can nip unlicensed units and licence cheats in the bud
  2. Introduce a tough new bylaw and agreements that hold platforms accountable for the hosts’ actions
  3. Make Airbnb fines lienable, so that the city can place liens against egregious violators who refuse to pay the fines

Rental rebate funded by Airbnb fines to help renters facing 4.5% increase

The 4.5% allowable rent increase for 2019 announced by the BC government will hit Vancouver renters hard. I pledge to offer Vancouver’s renters a rental rebate financed by Airbnb fines. Such a move would help rental households without burdening either the Vancouver taxpayers or our city’s landlords.

The latest Airbnb scan I conducted last night detected 3,480 violations of the short term rental bylaws. By fining these violations at $1,000 per day for just 30 days, we can collect $104M. That’s $104 million in the rental affordability fund.

Total Airbnb Listings 4066
Duplicate Licences 1065
Dubious Exemptions 195
Obviously Fake 60
Inocrrect License Type 165
Hosts with multiple units 1995
Total violations 3480
Fines collected ($1,000 * 30 days) $104,400,000
Total rental households in Vancouver 136,135
Rebate per household $767
Median 2 BR rent in Vancouver1)http://quantitativerhetoric.com/monthly-rental-report-august-2018.html $2,700
Annual increase $ amount at 4.5% $1,458
After rebate $691
Effective increase after rebate 2.13%

There are 136,135 rental households in Vancouver2)https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/housing-characteristics-fact-sheet.pdf. If we spread the $104 million equally, each current rental household will receive $767 a rental rebate. With the rebate, the effective increase for median Vancouver renter of a two bedroom will go down to just 2.13%.

While a rent freeze sounds great on paper, such a move would act as a disincentive to potential landlords, and could cause a further reduction in our already dangerously low vacancy rate. The rental affordability fund, on the other hand, helps renters without hurting landlords.

Airbnb and other short term rental platforms have been responsible for falling vacancy rates and rising rents. It’s only fitting that we target Airbnb violators to fund rental affordability.

I believe Vancouver should take care of those who take care of our city and our citizens. I dream of a place where those who contribute to our communities are able to afford to live in the city. I’m running for city councillor to see that dream come true. Please help me by donating and volunteering to my campaign.

References   [ + ]

1. http://quantitativerhetoric.com/monthly-rental-report-august-2018.html
2. https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/housing-characteristics-fact-sheet.pdf

Aribnb listings using licences issued for other businesses

Airbnb hosts seem to be getting around the new licensing requirements by using licences issued for other businesses, including licences for massage therapist, computer services and health services.

Listing IDLicenceLicence TypeRoom TypeName
44810418-587591Apartment House Strataentire_homeModern Charm in Downtown Vancouver
73289518-586073Apartment House Strataentire_homeBest Location in Downtown - Bright Beautiful 1bdr
675974418-601280Apartment House Strataentire_homeAmazing Location, Great View
2338192318-602677Apartment House Strataentire_homeLuxurious Yaletown 2 bed with gorgeous water views
2397681418-604969Apartment House Strataentire_homeStudio Condo in Olympic Village (brand new)
2397657418-604969Apartment House Strataentire_homeBrand new condo Olympic Village
2623590618-587598Apartment House Strataentire_home?Downtown w/ parking, in-suite laundry, amenities?
83833618-535826Apartment House Strataentire_home3 BEDROOM, 3 LEVEL TOWNHOUSE
129139418-549007Secondary Suite - Permanententire_homeClean New Kits 3 bedroom/ 2bath!
1978828918-439405Duplexprivate_roomKitsilano Hidden Gem
Now can sleep up to 4
2401663318-547315Non-profit Housingentire_home#319 Self-contained, double-occupancy suite
901453418-454788Multiple Dwellingprivate_roomBEAUTIFUL SHAUNGHNESSY MANSION
2259813118-550192Secondary Suite - Permanententire_homeModern Lower Level Suite on Quiet Street
1652204818-517152Secondary Suite - Permanententire_homecozy 1 bedroom suite near main street
1403862318-475851Secondary Suite - Permanententire_homeModern Family Home across from Park & Tennis Cour
2392554918-602680Apartment House Strataentire_homeFabulous One Bed w/ Coal Harbour View
2819993418-453877Massage Therapistprivate_roomAMAZING Unobstructed Ocean/Marina/Mountain Views!
2594193818-454906Multiple Dwellingentire_home??????????????
2168199918-579426One-Family Dwellingentire_homeHigh end apartment Downtown-Great Amenities!!
218811318-554147Apartment House Strataentire_home5 star Luxury ShangriLa hotel condo
1808940118-587593Apartment House Strataentire_homeStudio With Parking in the Heart of Downtown
504032018-601276Apartment House Strataentire_homeGorgeous 1-Bdr Walk Everywhere!
2048430818-609687Apartment House Strataentire_homeSpacious Studio Downtown Apartment w/Parking
2074742618-466370Residential/Commercialprivate_roomBed & Breakfast, historic house. Heart of Downtown
1998175718-602672Apartment House Strataentire_homeSpectacular modern 2 bedroom with stunning view !
2076142318-466370Residential/Commercialprivate_roomSummer B&B. Vancouver Downtown Best location!
2074694418-466370Residential/Commercialprivate_roomThe Cozy renovated Loft in Van Dowtown 3bed/1bath
2659690418-466370Residential/Commercialprivate_roomCozy room w/own washroom in Vancouver downtown
2076207818-466370Residential/Commercialprivate_roomB&B. Summer Special - Van Downtowns Heart
2338297418-449035Health Servicesentire_homeSacred Space Heritage Loft in Gastown Downtown
1887920118-586104Apartment House Strataentire_homePacific Rose Retreat - Modern condo DT Vancouver
899083518-549515Computer Servicesprivate_roomLuxury Condo at Metropolitan Towers
681264818-438653Pre-1956 Dwellingentire_homeONE BR TOP FLOOR SUITE IN HOUSE NEAR DOWNTOWN
1577120718-485830Apartment House Strataentire_home1 Bed Den Office in-suite laundry Pool Gym Hot Tub
139729118-606759Apartment House Strataprivate_roomBright bedroom in shared condo
2072694918-466370Residential/Commercialentire_homeYour ideal and cozy Guesthouse Vancouver Downtown
1807948318-611528Apartment House Strataentire_homeStylish 420 Friendly Work Remotely with Parking
1399219418-492336Multiple Dwellingentire_homeCute, cozy 2 Bedroom Garden Suite
580809418-491535Apartment House Strataentire_homeSpectacular View in Yaletown & Park
1519169518-466508Residential/Commercialentire_homeChic Fraser Street Apartment
1719589318-475073Secondary Suite - Permanententire_homeLast Minute Limited Availability 3bd/2bath
1710568518-587595Apartment House Strataentire_homeComfort & Charm, Parking, 15min to Downtown
2106639018-466370Residential/Commercialprivate_roomPromo! Charming private room in Vancouver
2318802518-466370Residential/Commercialprivate_roomBeautiful Private room - Victorian Downtown house
2265428918-608301Duplexprivate_roomVancouver on 12 & Commercial - PRIVATE BATHROOM
2282053818-608301Duplexprivate_roomVANCOUVER HOME - #3 New House - 12 & Commercial

To meaningfully protect our long term rental market from being decimated by Airbnb and other short term accommodation platforms, we must take the following steps:

  1. Introduce licence auto-verification, so, we can nip unlicensed units and licence cheats in the bud
  2. Introduce a tough new bylaw and agreements that hold platforms accountable for the hosts’ actions
  3. Make Airbnb fines lienable, so that the city can place liens against egregious violators who refuse to pay the fines

 

I believe Vancouver should take care of those who take care of our city and our citizens. I dream of a place where those who contribute to our communities are able to afford to live in the city. I’m running for city councillor to see that dream come true. Please help me by donating and volunteering to my campaign.

Only 5% of Vancouver Airbnb listings deactivated

 

City of Vancouver’s short term accommodation bylaw fully came into force today. There was much talk of “2,000” Airbnb units being deactivated. But did it really happen?

 

It appears that Airbnb has deactivated approximately 5% of the listings that were active on August 31.

 

I took a random sample 832 of City of Vancouver hosts on Airbnb August 31 between 4pm and 6pm Pacific Time.

 

218 out of the 832 (27%) of them were without licences and facing deactivation. I ran a follow up today between 1pm and 2pm. Here’s what I found

 

Table1: What happened to the listings without licenses on Aug 31

New State Number Percentage
Deactivated 45 21%
Converted 30+ Days 163 75%
Licence obtained last minute 10 5%
Total 218 100%

 

That means approximately 5% of Airbnb listings that were active in my sample have been delisted. If we go by Jens von Bergmann’s figure of 4,700 total listings1)https://doodles.mountainmath.ca/blog/2018/08/21/airbnb-and-str-licences/, that works out to about 250 listings being taken off the platform.

 

But the number of people who are cheating the system far exceed the number of listings yanked from the platform. I’m currently collecting data post-purge, and here’s what I have found with my fresh sample of 1,634 listings collected so far today.

 

Table 2: Summary of problems with licences

 

Status Count Percentage
Licence used multiple times 459 28%
“Exempt” but less than 30 nights 73 4%
Obviously fake 17 1%
Not found in CoV database 152 9%
Valid 933 57%
Total 1634 100%

 

459  listings, or 28%, share a licence with one or more other listings. This means that Airbnb and City have done nothing to crackdown on commercial operators.

 

Licences for 152, or 9%, did not appear in the City of Vancouver business license database.

 

73 out of the  832 listings in my sample, or 4%, claimed to be “Exempt” even though they were for less than 30 days. Further 17 listings, or 1%, had obviously fake license numbers such as 00-0000. This means 11% of the listings are either fake or are claiming to be exempt when they probably aren’t.

 

In summary, the “great purge” did not happen. Even amongst the listings with licences, 43% are problematic.

 

A lot of these problems can be solved by introducing license auto-verification2)https://rezel.ca/2018/06/automated-short-term-rental-accommodation-licence-integrity-checking-system-astralics/.

Data

I’m happy to share my SQL database if anyone wants to play around with it. Just get in touch with me.

Bonus

Here’s a nify two-liner to extract City of Vancouver short term rental licences from the Open Data portal Json file.

import json
stral = [f['properties']['LicenceNumber'] for f in json.load(open("/path/to/Politics/business_licences.json"))['features'] if f['properties']["BusinessType"] is not None and 'Short-Term Rental' in f['properties']["BusinessType"]]

References   [ + ]

1. https://doodles.mountainmath.ca/blog/2018/08/21/airbnb-and-str-licences/
2. https://rezel.ca/2018/06/automated-short-term-rental-accommodation-licence-integrity-checking-system-astralics/

Wikiwashing Westbank: Who’s editing developer Ian Gillespie’s Wiki page?

Someone’s been deleting sections of Vancouver developer Ian Gillespie’s Wikipedia page1)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Gillespie_(developer). Gillespie owns Westbank of the “if the Chinese market doesn’t want it, I have no interest in it” fame.

So who’s Wikiwashing Gillespie’s page?

Wikipedia edits leave behind an audit trail. In this case, we know the person who edited Gillespie’s page had the IP address 207.219.254.1322)https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ian_Gillespie_%28developer%29&type=revision&diff=850001074&oldid=846908619.

Let’s go and ask American Registry for Internet Numbers(ARIN)3)https://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-207-219-254-128-1/pft?s=207.219.254.132 who owns 207.219.254.132.

A quick Google search tells me that “180 University Hotel Limited Partnership”4)https://opengovca.com/toronto-business/B71-4293651 is the company which operates, wait for it, Westbank’s Shangri-La5)http://westbankcorp.com/shangri-la-toronto in Toronto, which happens to be at, 180 University Avenue.

Someone at Westbank’s Shangri-La is Wikiwashing Ian Gillespie’s page.

References   [ + ]

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Gillespie_(developer)
2. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ian_Gillespie_%28developer%29&type=revision&diff=850001074&oldid=846908619
3. https://whois.arin.net/rest/net/NET-207-219-254-128-1/pft?s=207.219.254.132
4. https://opengovca.com/toronto-business/B71-4293651
5. http://westbankcorp.com/shangri-la-toronto

Housing went from affordable to extremely unaffordable under Vision Vancouver

2008 2018
Median Houshold Income $52,000.00 $70,000.00
Median 2-Bedroom rent $1,285.00 $2,612.00
Rent as a % of Income 29.65% 44.78%

When Vision Vancouver came to power in 2008, the median income in Vancouver was $52K1)Extrapolated from https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/2018-housing-vancouver-annual-progress-report-and-data-book.pdf, while the rent for a two bedroom apartment was around $1,285 per month2)http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/PlanningPublications/ApartmentAverageRentsTwoBedroom.pdf, or 30 per cent of the income would be going towards rent.

After a decade under Vision Vancouver rule, the median income in Vancouver has increased by about a third to $70K3)Extrapolated from https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/2018-housing-vancouver-annual-progress-report-and-data-book.pdf, but rents have doubled to $2,612 per month4)http://quantitativerhetoric.com/monthly-rental-report-june-2018.html, or 45 per cent of the income would be required to pay rent.

30 per cent is considered the upper limit of affordability in Canada5)https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/developing-and-renovating/develop-new-affordable-housing/programs-and-information/about-affordable-housing-in-canada, meaning that when Vision Vancouver first came to power, at least rental housing was still affordable.

The percentage of a household’s income going towards rent has increase by 50% under Vision Vancouver, making housing extremely unaffordable to middle class income earners.

Vision came to power promising to end homelessness and build affordable housing6)https://cityhallwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/vision-vancouver-platform-2008-election.pdf. Vision has failed on both counts.

I’m running for City Council. Please donate help me win the City Hall back.

References   [ + ]

1, 3. Extrapolated from https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/2018-housing-vancouver-annual-progress-report-and-data-book.pdf
2. http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/regional-planning/PlanningPublications/ApartmentAverageRentsTwoBedroom.pdf
4. http://quantitativerhetoric.com/monthly-rental-report-june-2018.html
5. https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/developing-and-renovating/develop-new-affordable-housing/programs-and-information/about-affordable-housing-in-canada
6. https://cityhallwatch.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/vision-vancouver-platform-2008-election.pdf

I’m running for Vancouver City Council


I hear from my fellow Vancouverites everyday about how they’re being thrown out onto the streets to make way for luxury condos that remain empty as safety deposit boxes in the sky. I hear from friends and neighbours about being renovicted as their landlords turned entire rental towers into illegal Airbnb hotels.

Vancouverites are fed up with a City Hall that kneels prostrate before the greedy few who profit off the citizen’s misery.

Developers like Westbank are brazenly yelling to the world “Vancouver’s becoming a safety deposit box for the global rich!” as a sales pitch with no fear of consequences.

Why would Westbank fear any consequences?

After all, Westbank’s owner Ian Gillespie is Mayor Gregor Robertson’s buddy and a Vision Vancouver bankroller.

Gillespie’s correct. Vancouver is becoming one giant resort for the global rich to gamble with our homes as their chips. Vancouver is also becoming a giant washing machine to launder the proceeds of transnational crime.

As the raging opioid crisis kills thousands of our citizens every year, the fentanyl dealers are making a killing speculating on our homes.

I have had privilege of mentoring promising young students at our universities and colleges. But many are forced to leave Vancouver upon graduation, forcing them away from where they were born and raised and away from their families. The salaries in Vancouver, even in the tech sector, are among the lowest in Canada. The cost of housing – whether you seek to buy or rent – is among the highest. Our citizens who contribute to the city while paying for taxes that pay for all the great public goods – I’m talking about our teachers, nurses, our friends in the trades and pretty much every other worker – are struggling to make ends meet.

The exodus of talent and the hollowing out of our neighbourhoods mean that local businesses are unable to stay afloat. The boarded up storefronts that line once busy thoroughfares in Vancouver seem straight out of a set of a post-apocalyptic dystopian movie.

And as local businesses are shutting shop, multinational chains are taking their place. Instead of hiring locals and paying them a living wage, these large corporations are importing indentured labour under the highly exploitative temporary foreign worker program.

What saddens me the most is that, I know Vancouver has the potential to be a global hub of commerce, innovation, science and art. Yet, we have now become world famous for the “Vancouver model” of money laundering.

The real estate industry – I’m talking about the developers, marketeers and realtors – have been the greatest beneficiaries of the fentanyl-fuelled housing crisis. The industry has poured millions of dollars into the coffers of both Vision Vancouver and NPA. In turn, the mayor and the council have stubbornly refused to take any meaningful action to stop our beloved city turning into a laundromat for all the world’s dirty money.

I, along with scores of other housing advocates, have spent countless hours presenting to City of Vancouver simple common sense solution to address the issues such as Airbnb licence abuse and presale flipping. But we feel that we’re hitting a brick wall at every turn. It’s blatantly obvious that the City Hall under Vision Vancouver leadership is protecting the interests of transnational criminals and the real estate industry instead of promoting the interests of the citizens.

It’s said that change must come from within. That’s why I’m running for Vancouver City Council at the upcoming elections with David Chen and the ProVancouver team.

When I’m elected, here are the five motions that I will table at Vancouver City Council within the first 100 days.

Motion 1: All future condominium pre-sales will be restricted to just local income taxpayers, by adding a local income taxpayer only condition to all projects approved by the council.

Motion 2: Completely ban on Airbnb, until such time the company learns the meaning of corporate citizenship and agrees to a new memorandum of understanding which ensures platform accountability.

Motion 3: Establish a startup accelerator which will finance and nurture young innovators, thereby enabling the city to be partners in their success.

Motion 4: Vancouver will set up a city-wide job seeker database and work with Service Canada to ensure that when businesses apply for temporary foreign worker permits, they’ll be matched with a qualified local worker first.

Motion 5: Establish a special Vancouver Police Department task force to investigate crime in the real estate industry and bring the perpetrators, who are currently acting with absolute impunity, to justice.

Dear friends, for too long we have seen successive municipal governments gut the heart and soul of our city by allowing proceeds of transnational crime to chase away our honest hardworking citizens. Our politicians are gleefully lining their pockets by betraying the ones who elected them, while promoting the interests of the industry that bankrolls them.

It’s time we said “Enough!”. It’s time to rise up and reclaim our City Hall, so that once again, it can serve the interests of the citizens instead of pandering to the whims of a greedy few.

The battle for Vancouver will be not be a walk in Stanley Park. The cancer of cronyism has metastasized in every organ of city government. But we’re Vancouverites. We’re resolute. We’re tenacious. We’re defiant in the face of even the greatest adversity.

We shall take back the City Hall and rebuild Vancouver as a city where innovation and hard work is rewarded, where families can thrive, and our bright young minds can fulfil their true potential.

Dare to dream, my friends, dare to dream of a free and prosperous Vancouver known world over as a great city shining bright on Canada’s western shores as a beacon of integrity in world riddled with corruption and greed.

And we shall not give up until every Vancouverite is liberated from the clutches of these transnational criminals who’ve laid siege on our city. The sounds of children’s laughter will once again ring through our playgrounds.

Thank you

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