RITE Platform

— Address Housing Crisis —

Affordable Home Ownership Policy

Allow existing large houses in the RS1 zones with a single housing unit and at least three parking spaces to be subdivided into two strata titled housing units provided that the exterior character of the house remains unchanged, and each unit has a minimum size with proper facilities. This would allow many young people who do not require a large house to own their home. It would also allow seniors who want to downsize to remain in their home while providing funds from the sale for their retirement. It would not change the character of the neighbourhood nor affect on street parking.

Market Rental Housing Policy

Reverse the current policies favouring strata condos over purpose-built rental by working toward the goal of 80% purpose-built rental of the apartments built over the next five years. The severe shortage of rental housing can only be solved by constructing thousands of new market rental apartments. The supply must increase to meet the demand. The few hundred required under current policies will not reverse the situation. Only 13% of the apartments built in Richmond over the past four years have been purpose-built rentals while 87% have been strata condos for sale mostly to investors who charge rents 20% higher than purpose-built rentals. Shortages of skilled labour limit how many apartments can be built per year. Building strata condos takes scarce labour away from building purpose-built rentals.

Affordable Low Income Rental Housing Policy

Form a municipal housing corporation to facilitate the building of rental apartment buildings and housing cooperatives with senior government funding on city-owned land with rents limited to 30% of gross family income and a centralized waiting list managed by the city. A single parent working full time at minimum wage, providing us with services in our grocery stores, restaurants, and shops, cannot afford the rent for a one-bedroom apartment currently allowed in the City’s Low End Market Rental (LEMR) policy. Lower rents are only possible where the city supplies the land and senior governments contribute to the construction cost of rental housing. One centralized waiting list for low-income housing would ensure fairness and increase access compared to the current LEMR policy of a separate waiting list for each property.

Create Zoning for 100% Purpose-Built Rental

Zone single storey commercial properties to only allow the addition of 100% purpose-built rental on top of the ground floor commercial. There are many single storey commercial properties in the City Centre and along arterial roads including neighbourhood shopping centres. These could be 12 storey buildings in City Centre areas not under flight paths and 7 storey buildings outside the City Centre. Zoning for 100% purpose-built rental provides a profitable opportunity for property owners to build the rental housing we desperately need while not wasting the valuable space on strata condos for sale that we don’t need. Preserving commercial on the ground floor ensures that there will continue to be the goods and services needed by tenants.

Create Financial Incentives for 100% Purpose-Built Rental

Reduce Development Cost Charges and Property Taxes on New Construction of 100% purpose-built rental. Strata condos for sale to investors provide a higher profit than purpose-built rental even if the latter has higher density. This can be offset by financial incentives that increase the profitability of rental. Lower development cost charges for rental projects shifts more of the cost of public infrastructure to more profitable strata condo projects. Delaying collection of the increase in property taxes on the value of new rental buildings provides an incentive while maintaining the current tax revenue on the property.

— Enhance Climate Action & Emergency Preparedness —

Diking Program

Diking program timeline to be expedited in face of increasing risks. With sea levels rising due to global warming, and the frequency and intensity of storms increasing, RITE Richmond will accelerate the timeline for raising dike heights and improving their supporting infrastructure. As our climate changes in unpredictable ways, Richmond’s exposure to coastal and river flood hazards is increasing. The fifty-year plan for dike upgrading needs to be shortened due to climate changes and increased flooding risks. Increased prevention and mitigation expenditures now will reduce property destruction and social impacts in future.

Emergency Management & Climate Action

Integrated department of Emergency Management & Climate Action will provide increased leadership within the city government and with residents. Emergency management and climate action will be integrated as one department, providing a coordinated approach to preparedness, mitigation, and response approaches to be more proactive. Increased collaboration both internally and externally with agencies and community services are essential to addressing community risks more effectively while reducing costs and duplication. In a renewed spirit of transparency and preparing for a different future, analysis of hazards, risks and vulnerabilities will be more openly shared with residents and the business community to improve joint preparation for emergencies together. There are many risks including: earthquakes, flooding, extreme heat and cold, fires and numerous others. The city will bring a coordinated approach to emergency preparedness by working closely with the many hard-working and dedicated community leaders by supporting the creation of neighborhood hubs managed by resident volunteers. It’s time for Richmond to lead.

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Richmond can do more to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We will Reduce the City’s GHG emissions by expanding the reach of our District Energy utilities, waste heat recovery, and utilizing electrified zones for community events rather than a bank of gas-powered generators or idling trucks. We will incentivize developers to accelerate the Energy Step Code, including Passive House Standard, with ways to exclude natural gas from new residential low-carbon buildings. We will appoint a Youth City Council on an annual basis, to provide partnerships to hear from those who will be most impacted by the climate crisis and access innovative solutions.

Tree Canopy and Heat Emergencies

Trees provide a shade canopy that can dramatically reduce the need for cooling during heat emergencies. We will strengthen our resiliency to the worsening effects of climate change by directing developers to retain trees that provide shading effects and provide 0% financing for climate-friendly homes using an electric heat pump to provide heating and cooling. We will enhance the tree bylaw by removing some of the exception loopholes, so that developers get the message that design plans must work around significant trees, hedges, low vegetation habitats, and uncompacted soil.

Protection of Land & Habitat

Richmond will become a leader in protecting farmland and green space. While continuing to ensure communities within Richmond have convenient access to parks and green space, we will work to enhance protections of natural habitat as a priority to maintain the ecology of existing ecosystems which when damaged or destroyed can rarely be replaced. We must follow through with the Ecological Network Management Strategy to identify key sensitive habitats to add layers of long-term protection of natural assets and maintain with actual invasive plant removal, rather than simply brush mowing. Farmland is not only essential to food security but also part of a healthy biodiverse land system. Further protection will ensure this land is available for generations to come. Together we can ensure smart growth to protect what we value while improving air quality, encouraging healthier lifestyles and protecting our food supply.

Transportation Improvements

Richmond will become a leader in expanding alternative transportation options.  The City’s current token goal to grow cycling as a travel choice for 10 per cent of all trips in Richmond by 2041 lacks ambition and excludes emerging transportations alternatives such as electric vehicles, e-bikes, scooters, mobility devices, and others which part of our future transportation network. We need to work with all stakeholders to safety accommodate and integrate these newer options into our existing transportation network.

— Ensure Fair Taxation & Emergency Preparedness —

No Automatic 1% Increase for Surplus Fund

The City of Richmond adds 1% extra in property taxes each year for the surplus fund. This increase imposed on taxpayers should not be automatic. Council should review the necessity of this tax and impact on residents each year considering initiatives compatible with fiscal responsibilities. The tax increase is often 50% higher than the CPI rate and this is unfair to homeowners living on a fixed income.

Stop Millions Spent on Lawn Bowling Clubhouse

The current proposal to spend $5.3 million to rebuild the Lawn Bowling Clubhouse at Minoru Park can not be justified while vulnerable seniors and other populations struggle to find affordable housing. Fiscal responsibility dictates this taxpayer money be either re-directed towards other facilities that serve more people than the 280 members of this club or require this rebuild to include residences above it.

Improve Fiscal Responsibility

As city budgets grow every year based on the previous year’s budget used as a base, a move to zero based budgeting would require the re-evaluation of how every dollar is spent, each year. This change requires all city departments to justify all operating expenses in consideration of city revenues. This budgeting approach allows for a strategic, top-down approach to analyzing the performance of operations for improved fiscal responsibility.

— Enhance Public Safety —

Mental Health Specialists for RCMP

Richmond will provide more mental health specialists to accompany RCMP Officers when required. Many calls to the RCMP involve disturbances created by people with mental health problems. These situations frequently require careful handling by someone with mental health expertise to avoid escalation into an incident that results in serious harm to those involved.

Improve Ambulance Services

Richmond will explore the potential of Richmond Fire-Rescue taking an enhanced role for Medical Emergencies in coordination with BC Ambulance Service. Long waits for an ambulance and paramedics could be reduced if Richmond Fire-Rescue personnel had increased paramedic training.

Emphasis on Crime Prevention

Richmond will expand the RCMP Block Watch program. Most residential break-ins are reported by the homeowner after returning home and the police come to record what was stolen. The Block Watch program trains neighbours to call the police when they see suspicious activity so that the police can come and catch the thief. While Richmond has over 300 RCMP officers, there are only two people managing the Block Watch program.

Anti-racism Education Program

Richmond will expand the anti-racism public education program. By expanding the anti-racism program, we can build a stronger community together.