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Kelowna  

Do away with the ALR?

A Kelowna economics professor has a modest proposal for dealing with the housing affordability issues plaguing the city: start building on the Agricultural Land Reserve.

Dr. Ross Hickey, an assistant professor of economics at UBC Okanagan, made the suggestion at an Urban Development Institute luncheon April 26.

Speaking to a crowd of hundreds of developers and realtors, Hickey argued developing on the ALR would more effectively control ballooning house prices than the provincial government’s speculation tax.

Hickey said the ALR, which exists to protect farmland from development, has effectively meant municipalities have fixed footprints, “constraining” their ability to create new housing.

He argued that building on the ALR could do a lot to address that constraint (especially in Kelowna) and that since housing affordability is such a pressing issue anyone looking to combat the problem should prioritize that over other considerations.

For more on Hickey's arguments in favour of developing on agricultural land, as well as why he feels the speculation tax might be ineffective, check out the full story on Castanet's sister business news website, Okanagan Edge.



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