Like many Canadians, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson watched the unveiling of today's federal budget with a great deal of interest.

Vancouver is struggling with a housing affordability crisis, aging infrastructure and homelessness — and the Liberals made promises to address all of those issues to at least some degree.

In an interview with On The Coast guest host Gloria Macarenko, Robertson gave his thoughts on how well the federal government did in those areas.


The government committed $112 million nation-wide to address homelessness, which Robertson called a "modest" sum.

He said federal spending on solving homelessness has lapsed over time, and much more money will be needed to make a difference.

"That's where the national housing program needs to be worked on urgently," he said. "The next budget, a year from now, it's got to have some solid investments that make a difference across the country."


Robertson said the budget almost doubled federal spending on housing, including money for social housing, seniors' housing and co-ops.

However, he said nothing has specifically been said about the 20 sites the City of Vancouver put forward as locations for future social housing projects.

"It enables a lot more activity and investment in housing, which is great, but it does definitely hold back on the longer-term spend that we need to really achieve affordability," he said.

Robertson said he's looking towards the promised national housing strategy to make a bigger difference when it comes to housing affordability.

Transportation and infrastructure

Robertson said he wasn't expecting "miracles" on the transportation fund, but the money was a good first step to make bigger projects happen.

"We have a down payment to get projects going," he said. "We have important dollars into the Broadway and Surrey transit projects, and also dollars that will improve the bus service and SkyTrain service."

Robertson said he was pleased with infrastructure dollars that would go towards "green infrastructure," like the Lions Bay sewer project.

With files from On The Coast

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson weighs in on Liberals' first budget