Only one candidate vying for mayor in any of the municipal elections around the province has responded to a set of questions from the Canadian Home Builders Association, but the provincial CEO isn’t worried.
“It’s such a quick turnaround,” Victoria Belbin said Friday, noting the association had sent the questions off only a week earlier.
As of Friday, the association had received just one response, from Ken MacDonald, running for mayor of Conception Bay South.
“We had to wait until the nominations closed,” Belbin said.
At the very least, the questions will prompt the candidates to think about their positions on several issues the association wants raised as it co-hosts, with the St. John’s Board of Trade, mayoral debates Tuesday evening at the Bella Vista in St. John’s.
“We wanted to talk to the municipal candidates about the residential development and application process, we wanted to talk about municipal infrastructure and government-imposed costs,” said Belbin.
Other questions deal with government fees and affordability, a proposed tax in St. John’s on homes that are under construction and what Belbin says is an issue increasingly seen in proposed developments: NIMBYism — not in my backyard.
“We want to know what they felt they could do to help minimize and address some of the attitudes in my community — not in my backyard,” said Belbin.
The association is working with St. John’s to develop a “NIMBY tool kit,” which it plans to reveal in November.
“That will be a tool kit for community organizations, municipalities and builders to use to help in their development process and planning process to ensure good communication is used.”
Whatever the outcome of the election, Belbin said, the association wants a closer working relationship with St. John’s, as noted in its submission to last year’s municipal planning review, which she called the “foundation” that the association will use across the province.
“This is not just, ‘Who are you going to vote for?’ We’re going to follow up after the election based on what they’ve said, and that we’re using this as the foundation as we move forward, and how we communicate with the municipalities,” she said.
Among the recommendations in the submission is that the city develop a partnership with the home-builders’ association, which would provide industry-related technical and strategic advice.
“One of the biggest concerns that we have is that there are impacts which cause the price of housing to increase,” Belbin said. “We want to work with municipalities to help everybody understand that if there’s a delay in this, a new fee here, it all impacts at the end of the day the price of that home. We want to be able to build a house that people can afford. That’s our ultimate goal.”