Red tape, housing and crime top the list of business concerns in Metro Vancouver municipal elections: report

The Mustel Group and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade worked together on a poll of the main issues in October's coming elections.

Metro Vancouver

Credit: Matt Wang

The poll, put together by the Mustel Group and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, is a preview of what will be the main issues in October 

As Metro Vancouver’s municipalities head to the polls on October 15, the list of priorities from voters probably won’t come as a huge surprise to most people in the region.  

According to a poll produced by the Mustel Group and the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade (GVBOT), affordable housing, transportation/transit and crime/public safety are the three main priorities for the general public in the upcoming election. That list shifts only slightly when centred on businesses (Board of Trade members), as affordable housing and crime/public safety take the second and third spots, respectively, to permitting, licensing and red tape.  

The other list of people surveyed, politicians, differed a bit. While housing was the number one issue, it was followed by planning/infrastructure and environment/climate change. 

If early predictions are any indication, it doesn’t seem like the former two groups trust the latter one to make the changes they’re calling for. According to the poll, most residents and businesses (71 percent) expect the quality of life and affordability in the region to worsen over the next 5 years. As one might expect, politicians were much more hopeful, with only 39 percent expecting the same.   

Concerns over the quality of life led to some 36 percent of businesses saying they are considering relocation.  

When it comes to housing—the only shared priority between the three groups—businesses are the most interested, at a very high 79 percent, in seeing the provincial government intervene in the housing crisis.  

“Businesses are facing numerous challenges including rising costs and inflation, and acute labour shortages,” said Bridgitte Anderson, president and CEO of the GBOT in a release. 

“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.”