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Affordable housing and transportation top priority in 2013

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Vancouver’s mayor says his two top priorities for the coming year are about affordable living.

In a year-end interview with News1130’s Jason Howe, Gregor Robertson has identified transportation and housing as key for 2013.

Firstly, the mayor admits it’s going to take years to make a real difference on affordable housing.

But he argues we’re starting to see change. “It will be noticed by some people, hundreds of people over this next year, but ultimately we’ve got to scale that up in the years to come.”

Robertson says we’re starting to make a dent on affordability with laneway housing, secondary suites and rental housing.

“We’re on a pace of about five to six hundred rental units a year being constructed. Historically, over the last couple of decades, we were building about a hundred a year.”

On transportation, Robertson says the mayors agree transit needs new revenue.

Just how much they can get will define the debate about priorities.

“I think there’s strong unity around overall improvements. Increasing the bus service throughout the region. Making sure areas that aren’t well served right now get some service and the busiest routes don’t have pass ups. We have work to do to figure out the rapid transit investments. Obviously, Vancouver’s Broadway subway and Surrey’s LRT lines are the key priorities. I think we would like to see them both happen at the same time.”

The mayors will need to get the province on side to make progress on that issue.