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Letter: Local governments must stop blocking affordable housing

Local governments are going to have to be realistic

Local governments must stop blocking affordable housing

It’s amazing how people who claim to want affordable housing are supporting policies that actually not only discourage it, but actively prevent it. Case in point: the second, thankfully failed, attempt by North Cowichan council to downzone a property that is intended for affordable housing. The excuse being, it’s too far away and they want to discourage vehicle use. Really? Pretend the bus doesn’t exist and ignore the fact that zero-emission cars will be mandated within 20 years? Pretend that people won’t need to go see a specialist in Victoria? When we all have zero-emission cars, what’s the point of discouraging vehicle use?

Local governments are going to have to be realistic. Land near Duncan is far too expensive to be used for “affordable” housing. A mix of factors, including their own policies, have led to this problem. The other factors are one thing, but one thing that is absolutely under their control is the red tape they put in place. If they insist on keeping and expanding the red tape, then it’s inevitable that people seeking more affordable housing will have to leave the valley.

Every time I go up-Island and visit the Quality Foods in Parksville, I keep hearing they’re trying to get a store opened in Duncan. I’ve been hearing this for at least 20 years or more. I’m not sure who the intransigent party is; City of Duncan, North Cowichan, or both. But this just goes to show how anti-development it is here, and has been for a long time.

Take a look at major cities in the U.S. that have huge problems with affordability, and do the opposite of what they did. Doing the same things that failed elsewhere and expecting different results falls within the definition of insanity.

April J. Gibson

Duncan

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