British Columbia

Lower Mainland residents lament 'decline in quality of life' ahead of civic elections, survey finds

The majority of the Lower Mainland's business community believe that quality of life and affordability in Metro Vancouver have declined in the last five years, survey says.

Survey says nearly half of residents have considered relocating due to affordability

The VoteLocal survey suggests nearly half the region’s residents and over a third of its businesses have recently considered moving away from the region due to affordability concerns. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

The majority of the Lower Mainland's business community believe that quality of life and affordability in Metro Vancouver have declined in the last five years — and almost half of Metro Vancouver's residents have considered relocating due to affordability.

Those are some of the findings of a new survey organized by the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, called Vote Local.

On Wednesday, the survey's findings were presented at a board of trade briefing for current civic politicians and election candidates.

The civic elections are six weeks away, on Oct. 20, and half of Greater Vancouver mayors are not seeking re-election.

One purpose of the survey, conducted by the Mustel Group and FleishmanHillard HighRoad, was to prepare first-time candidates for some of the issues that lie ahead. 

The survey, which was conducted throughout the summer, asked participants what they thought was the most pressing issue facing their municipality.

In total, 810 people were surveyed: 533 random Metro Vancouver adults, 184 board of trade members and 93 current or prospective politicians.

No. 1 issue is affordable housing

The results show that 67 per cent of residents, 75 per cent of board of trade members and 82 per cent of politicians think quality of life in the region has declined, and won't improve anytime soon, due largely to housing affordability.

"The No. 1 issue facing folks was affordable housing," said Iain Black, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. 

"Housing affordability, and the trickle-down effects involved in that, have made it a very challenging environment here over the last 15 years."

The second most pressing issue, according the survey, was public transportation.

"We saw there is absolutely a priority on expanding public transit services region-wide," said Black.

Residents, board of trade members, and politicians all expressed strong support for improvements to the region's roads and public transit, says the survey.

In addition, the survey suggests board of trade members would like to see expedited permitting for new housing supply.

Black said the Wednesday briefing saw a large turnout of new candidates, and he hopes they will take the survey's findings seriously while they campaign.

With files from On the Coast

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