British Columbia

#Donthave1Million protesters rally against high cost of housing

More than 100 people rallied at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday afternoon to protest the high cost of housing in Vancouver.

Protesters take aim at soaring prices for housing in Vancouver

People fed up with the high cost of housing in Vancouver turned up in numbers on Sunday to express their dissatisfaction. (Twitter/Farrah Merali)

More than 100 people rallied at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday afternoon to protest the high cost of housing in Vancouver.

Many carried signs outlining the increase in housing prices over the last few decades.

The rally was organized by Vancouverites for Affordable Housing — a group that describes itself as "your everyday residents and citizens who believe that the housing affordability crisis is damaging the long-term health of our beloved city."

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson did not attend the rally, but released a statement to the media. 

"I hear on a daily basis from people who are struggling to stay in the city, whether it's finding a decent place to rent for their family or a modest home to make an entry into the housing market. This conversation needs to happen and I hear the concerns loud and clear — and I hope the provincial and federal governments are listening too."

Robertson said the city is doing what it can to shift the housing market towards affordability, but more action is required by provincial and federal governments.

"One of the biggest ways we could boost affordability in Vancouver and cities across the country is for the federal government to re-engage in housing, he said. 

"Steady, long-term cutbacks from the federal government are compounding our affordability challenges. There is huge demand from people on the affordable end of the market for new co-ops and family housing."

The rally featured speeches by Paul Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze and Eveline Xia — the woman who started an online conversation about the subject with the #DontHave1Million Twitter campaign.

On Friday, Vancouver real-estate marketer Bob Rennie recommended a tax on speculation in a speech to the Urban Development Institute 

Robertson says he is also in favour of a speculation tax, and suggested it as an option to B.C. Premier Christy Clark last week.