To be or not to be – the case for affordable housing (and courteous communication)

One of the things I committed to prior to the local election last October was to communicate. And I strive to do that – in this blog (click ‘Follow’ or ‘Subscribe’ at the bottom of this site then click again to receive posts in your email), on Facebook and Twitter and in meetings and conversations with residents.

So in the vein of communicating, let me tell you about a letter I received yesterday. Delivered by snail mail and written anonymously it expresses concerns about a proposed CRD affordable housing development at the old trailer park site at Thetis Lake and casts some aspersions on me and my integrity.

The property is zoned for high density and, whether the proposed mixture of affordable and market value or all market value is built, development is inevitable. The issue facing council – the only issue – is whether to waive the development cost charges (that pay for infrastructure such as sewer and water) that would make the affordable housing project of 152 units (some low rent, many near market rate) possible.

For me, this has been a difficult issue and discussion. I’ve listened intently to the opinions of my council colleagues and been candid and vocal in saying I don’t think the site is ideal. A location more central to services would clearly be preferable for affordable housing, but the CRD has identified the Thetis location as the only possible site in View Royal and perhaps allowing people to have a place to call home trumps that.

The fact remains that in 2017 the property was rezoned to allow the construction of up to 350 units in four buildings plus townhouses. Based on that 2017 decision by the previous council, the property is destined for density – whether all market value or a mix.

Based on that, I’m interested in hearing the reasons some people are opposed to the proposed project and look forward to speaking to residents at the May 7 DCC open house at town hall.

Further to yesterday’s unpleasant correspondence: this is the second unattributed letter I’ve received – the first arrived in my mailbox before I’d even been sworn in. I’m understanding first hand why caring and thoughtful people willing to build community, are reluctant to seek elected office.

 

 

  3 comments for “To be or not to be – the case for affordable housing (and courteous communication)

  1. Margaret Neilson
    May 7, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    Hello Gery, I agree with your above communication, I don’t think the site is ideal. A location more central to services is necessary for all residents whatever the age. With waiving the DCC for this site, I would like to know who is going to be paying for the infrastructure? As a home owner (on a fixed income) here in View Royal I do not want my property taxes to be increased substantially to cover this $1m shortfall.

    Like

    • Gery Lemon
      May 9, 2019 at 10:23 am

      Hi Margaret, thanks for you comment. I empathize and, be assured, this would not result in a property tax increase. If the DCC is waived, the infrastructure costs would be paid through reserves, gas tax funding, grants or casino funds.

      The building will be owned by the CRD – I spoke to CRD staff at the open house this week about the location and was told more central properties come with a bigger price tag making affordable housing less affordable.

      This is a tough decision.

      Like

  2. Graham Haymes
    May 13, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Well said.

    Like

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