NPA Vancouver mayoral candidate, Kirk LaPointe outlined his economic platform in advance of the city's November municipal election, with a plan to address the impact of foreign investment on residential real estate.

LaPointe says an NPA council would initiate a study on foreign ownership in Vancouver, a controversial topic in a city  with such high real estate values.The study would also engage Vancouverites on the issue, and their preferences, an NPA press release states.

“You can’t create policy from anecdotes,” LaPointe says in the release. “The issue must be examined responsibly. I am confident we can have this conversation in a respectful way that considers the costs and benefits of foreign ownership.”  

Getting tough on absentee owners

Presenting his plan Tuesday, LaPointe said that while policy around foreign ownership is handled by higher levels of government, he would bring in tougher bylaws around standards and maintenance of properties bought as an investment and left sitting empty.

"We would get tougher on this enforcement, in taking on owners who do not demonstrate a commitment to meeting acceptable standards."

LaPointe also said the city was floundering under current mayor Gregor Robertson.

"He has cut Vancouver off from the important conversations with leaders from across the country and abroad," LaPointe said. "He has let ideology trump practicality. He has created problems instead of solving them."

He also said he would create more housing for seniors and families through revitalizing CityPlan, a city-wide zoning initiative.

LaPointe argued that greater economic growth will provide the prosperity people need to buy into such an expensive city.

In response, Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs called  the NPA's approach on housing tired and out-of-touch.

"The NPA's belief that we should let 'the market' decide what housing gets built in Vancouver will only drag our city backwards," Meggs said in a statement. "It's not a surprise this is coming from the same party that has voted 25 times against measures to address affordable housing and homelessness."

With files from Terry Donnelly