Calgary needs to address its affordable housing issues or face the very real prospects of a stagnating economy.
That was the between-the-lines warning from a Chamber of Commerce report on housing affordability released Thursday.
The 65-page document made 25 recommendations for the consideration of both City Hall and the province to facilitate more reasonable accommodation prices and its lead analyst Ben Brunnen said lack of affordable housing could perpetuate the labour shortage.
“This report is extremely timely,” Brunnen said. “We’re losing our competitive advantage in terms of our ability to compete for young talent and that’s going to hurt us in the long run.”
Chief among the report’s recommendations was to inject affordability among the city’s 11 sustainability principles of their not-yet incorporated Municipal Development Plan “to ensure a mandated recognition,” Brunnen said. “Without that, we might not see any affordable properties come to market.”
No date has been set to present the report to council, but Ald. Brian Pincott said he found it encouraging that the Chamber would frame affordability as an issue affecting the city’s economic viability.
“We are facing the crunch now for the decisions we’ve been making for 30, 40 years,” Pincott said.
“People are being squeezed out of affordability, when people are making 40, 50 thousand dollars a year and they’re squeezed out of affordability, we’ve got a problem.”