For Immediate Release
September 8, 2022
VANCOUVER, B.C. — A new survey of residents, businesses and politicians ahead of the October 15 civic election shows widespread consensus that tackling the affordable housing crisis is the top issue in Metro Vancouver, with growing concerns that affordability and quality of life in the region will continue to get worse over the next four years.
The Metro Elects survey, conducted by Mustel Group in August 2022, was presented today at a briefing for civic politicians and election candidates. Overall, the top issues identified by the parties are:
1. Affordable Housing
1. Affordable Housing
1. Permitting, Licensing and Red Tape
2. Affordable Housing
3. Crime/Public Safety
3. Environment/Climate Change
3. Crime/Public Safety
Most residents and businesses (71%) expect the quality of life and affordability in the region to worsen over the next 5 years. Politicians are significantly more hopeful with only 39 percent expecting it to worsen. The proportion that believes it will get worse has increased since 2018 among all three groups.
According to the survey findings, those concerns over quality of life are leading just over half of Metro Vancouver residents, 52 percent, to consider moving away from the region. This is a slight increase from 46 percent in 2018. One-in-three businesses (36%) are considering relocating their businesses for the same reason (similar to the level found in 2018).
On housing, the majority of residents, politicians and businesses are supportive of the provincial government doing more to prompt municipalities to approve more housing supply, with 44 percent of residents wanting to see the province introduce legislation while 20 percent would prefer the province find other ways to influence municipal approvals of new housing. Business representatives are the most interested in seeing the provincial government intervene, with 79 percent hoping for legislation or other measures. Meanwhile, 57 percent of politicians wish to see provincial intervention – including 34 percent who want legislation.
Preferences for adding new housing supply were consistent among residents and politicians, with both groups saying non-market/social housing for people with lower incomes and rental housing should be prioritized. But politicians are more inclined than the public to support densification on busier streets and transit corridors, and to adding more ‘gentle density’ in neighbourhoods. However, 80 percent of residents would support the addition of multi-family housing of at least three storeys in their own neighbourhood.
Both residents (75%) and candidates (89%) are supportive of their municipal government accelerating the development of affordable housing and agree that it is important that essential service workers can afford to live in their community near where they work.
All three groups do not think the level of investment in transit services at a regional level has been suﬀicient to keep up with the needs of the population.
Residents (55%), politicians (77%) and the business community (62%) all believe the region needs more investments in transit, with broad support for adding bus rapid transit (BRT) to various locations, SkyTrain expansion to UBC and rapid transit to the North Shore (as examples).
Politicians were strongly in favour of micromobility (bikes, e-scooters, bikeshare, etc.) with 82 percent in support, compared with businesses at 66 percent and residents at 49 percent.
Taxes and Spending
Both residents (47%) and businesses (61%) do not believe increased property taxes have been invested in a way that improves city services. Politicians on the other hand believe they have been (68%).
Other Key Findings
- Affordable housing was cited by residents as the top priority in all areas of Metro Vancouver except for the Southeast (Surrey, North Delta, Langley, White Rock), where crime (25%) and transparency/bureaucracy/fiscal responsibility (20%) were most often cited.
- In terms of voting, 57% of residents say they prefer to vote for a mix of candidates from different parties as opposed to choosing from a single party slate.
“Affordable housing is the key issue in this election, but concerns are also expressed about how such housing will be absorbed by neighbourhoods when community services and infrastructures are already stressed. Residents accept the need for multi-family housing but only if it’s a scale that can be accommodated by their neighbourhood.” - Evi Mustel, President, Mustel Group.
“As our communities continue to recover from the pandemic, residents are looking to local leaders to dig deeper to address our region’s biggest challenges. The Metro Elects survey shows deepening concern among voters, businesses and politicians that the region isn’t acting quickly enough to improve access to affordable housing, tackle homelessness, and keep up with the services and infrastructure needed to support a growing population.” – Anna Lilly, Principal, Earnscliffe Strategies
“Businesses are facing numerous challenges including rising costs and inflation, and acute labour shortages. They are calling on municipal governments to work with them to ease bottlenecks in the licensing and permitting processes and to supply more affordable housing. Our survey found a strong consensus among business owners, members of the public and politicians that municipal leaders elected in October must bring practicable, evidence-based and actionable solutions to these persistent challenges if we want our region to thrive.” – Bridgitte Anderson, President and CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
The Metro Elects survey included three different groups:
- A random sample of Metro Vancouver adults, 18 years of age or over (n=500)
- Greater Vancouver Board of Trade members (n=180)
- Current mayors and councillors, and candidates in the up-coming election (n=65)
The public and politician survey was completed online from August 8th to 28th, 2022.
About the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade:
Since its inception in 1887, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade has been recognized as Western Canada's leading business association, engaging our members to inform public policy at all levels of government and empowering them to succeed and prosper in the global economy. With a Membership whose employees comprise one-third of B.C.'s workforce, we are the largest business association between Victoria and Toronto. We leverage this collective strength, facilitating networking opportunities, and providing professional development through unique programs. In addition, we operate one of the largest events platforms in the country, providing a stage for national and international thought leaders to enlighten B.C.'s business leaders.
About Mustel Group
Established over 30 years ago in Vancouver, Mustel Group offers a full range of quantitative and qualitative research services including telephone, internet, email, mail, mall intercept, on-site surveys, depth interviewing and focus groups. The Mustel Group is a team of collaborative experts delivering customized market research solutions for clients in both the public and private sectors. MustelGroup.com