Poll gives province bad marks on TransLink, real estate

B.C. government gets highest disapproval ratings for its handling of TransLink and foreign buying of Vancouver real estate

The B.C. government gets its worst marks from voters on its handling of TransLink and the issue of offshore money pouring into Metro Vancouver real estate.

That’s one of the findings of a new poll released by Insights West.

Just 10 per cent of B.C. residents surveyed said they approve of the province’s decisions on TransLink, and 83 per cent in Metro Vancouver have a negative view. Transit expansion remains mired in political gridlock after voters rejected a 0.5 per cent regional sales tax. The province requires another referendum for any new TransLink tax.

“If the vote was a rejection on the way TransLink operates – which definitely it was – there really hasn’t been a lot of movement on how you are going to be changing things down the road,” said Mario Canseco, Insights West vice-president.

Peter Fassbender, the minister responsible for TransLink, has ruled out major governance reforms.

On the province’s response to the issue of foreign ownership of housing, just 12 per cent of B.C. residents said they were satisfied, and 73 per cent in Metro disapprove. The province has faced repeated calls to deter the inflow of foreign money, blamed by some for helping drive up Vancouver-area prices.

The government is studying its options. It has so far indicated it will avoid any measure that reduces the equity of existing homeowners, but may possibly add an extra tier of property transfer tax when high-end homes change hands.

As with TransLink, Canseco said the high disapproval rating shows the issue cuts beyond voters who generally oppose the BC Liberals.

“It’s not a situation that it’s just affecting those who are more likely to support the Greens or the NDP,” he said. “Even your own base is saying this is a file you need to deal with.”

Seventy per cent also disapproved of the province’s management of BC Ferries.

On Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline proposal, 57 per cent said the government has done a bad job.

The government scored better on its handling of crime and public safety, the economy and jobs, and on energy pipelines and LNG – it had 30 to 35 per cent approval on those issues.

The only recent decision of the government to get significant support was its reforms to the sale of alcohol – 42 per cent said it did a good job.

The economy and jobs remains the top ranked provincial issue, followed by health care, housing/poverty/homelessness, government accountability and the environment.

The poll found 39 per cent of decided voters would support the NDP if an election were held today, compared to 34 per cent for the BC Liberals, 16 per cent for the BC Green Party and seven per cent for the BC Conservatives.

Canseco said the Greens are essentially tied for second place with the Liberals on Vancouver Island.

Overall, Premier Christy Clark’s approval rating is 29 per cent (69 per cent disapprove). NDP leader John Horgan has a 39 per cent approval rating.

The poll of 812 B.C. adults has a plus or minus 3.5 per cent margin of error.

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