Op-Ed: We need to vote for a liveable Vancouver in Saturday’s election

Oct 16 2018, 11:47 pm

Written for Daily Hive by Kiersten Giuriato who, along with her husband Nico, are Airbnb hosts and residents of South Granville in Vancouver.

When I mark my ballot on Saturday, I will vote for a mayor who values tech, innovation, and the sharing economy. As a proud Vancouver resident and an avid sharing-economy user, I want a mayor that will position our city for the future.

Last week I attended Daily Hive’s Vancouver Mayoral Debate, sponsored by several prominent tech companies, to try and decide who to support in the upcoming municipal election.

Affordability was a recurring theme throughout the debate, with a particular focus on the challenges young people face trying to buy a home or find an affordable rental in this city. As a millennial and a renter, these are critical issues to me and thousands of Vancouverites that require modern solutions.

For the last five years, while working with vulnerable children at a non-profit organization, I supplemented my income by becoming an Airbnb host. Home sharing allowed me to pursue my passion and career while not worrying about making rent.

Recently, the City of Vancouver passed new short-term rental regulations that allow Vancouverites to list our homes on platforms like Airbnb. This has been a significant step in legitimizing not just home sharing, but the entire sharing economy, in Vancouver.

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Despite the candidates from across the political spectrum disagreeing on most issues, I was heartened to hear support and agreement from all candidates on the subject of the future of Vancouver’s tech economy.

During the debate, I asked the candidates if they supported the new short-term rental regulations and if they would ensure that all other platforms also followed the rules.

Shauna Sylvester acknowledged that Airbnb is the only short-term rental platform currently working with the city, and expressed the need for other platforms like Expedia and Booking.com to follow the new rules.

Kennedy Stewart noted the importance of renters like me also having the ability to share their homes and said that people should be allowed to do what they want with their residences.

Hector Bremner said Airbnb is necessary in Vancouver both as a way for residents to supplement their income and to support tourism in the region.

Ken Sim impressed me with his no-nonsense approach and expressed his support for the new regulations as well as the recent tax agreement between Airbnb and the BC government.

The debate was often adversarial. However, despite their differences on other issues, the candidates understood that Airbnb has helped make life more affordable for me and thousands of other millennials in Vancouver.

As a renter and Airbnb host, I want a mayor that understands the unique challenges that Vancouver’s young residents face and promotes innovative solutions to help us remain in our spectacular city.

On Saturday, October 20, voters decide how our city will be led for the next four years. It’s time for Vancouver’s millennials to vote for a candidate that supports the things we care about. My vote will be a vote for embracing the 21st century economy and the modern solutions that come with it.


Read more about the municipal election across Metro Vancouver on Daily Hive

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