It is incomprehensible to me that a few vocal members of a neighbourhood can effectively stop a much-needed affordable housing project at Townley Lodge. As well as the thousands spent by the Greater Victoria Housing Society on design and redesign to address these neighbours’ concerns, we have now lost $6.2 million in affordable housing funding.
These neighbours are also aided and abetted by Saanich council, as it was recommended by Saanich staff that this project proceed to public hearing, but council chose instead to kowtow to the demands of these few neighbours.
I am not just a proponent of affordable housing, I am currently a resident of Townley Lodge. I have been living with uncertainty for over a year regarding this.
Some of the delays associated with this project were as a result of GVHS spending additional time attempting to work with the opponents of this project, to satisfy their concerns. Obviously it was wasted time, they have dug in their heels like children and care nothing for the needs of the community as a whole.
Now for Saanich council to ignore the recommendations of their own staff, knowing that it could ensure the deadline for federal grant money goes by, knowing that the current residents would be faced with more uncertainty, knowing that we could lose more units of affordable housing is unconscionable behaviour.
Even the opponents’ arguments are feeble. Calling underdeveloped land their personal green space. Complaining about density when the neighbourhood has been filled with secondary suites. Traffic travelling on Townley was increased years ago, when traffic calming closed most of the roads between Shelbourne and Richmond, and doesn’t affect over 90 per cent of the neighbourhood.
A partial four-storey building, adjacent to a church which blocks any view anyways, would barely affect anyone.
The facts do not support any neighbourhood property values going down. A return of this neighbourhood to its former vibrancy will likely increase property values rather than decrease them.