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LETTER: Density doesn't equal affordability for Saanich

Saanich Coun. Zac de Vries' statement uses logic familiar to readers of George Orwell's 1984
The Official Community Plan was a point of contention between Saanich council and residents at a public hearing on Tuesday, April 30, 2024.

According to Saanich Coun. Zac de Vries, "density is affordability."

The councillor spoke these words at the 1:46:57 time point during the final council deliberations on Saanich's new official community plan on May 7.

Coun. de Vries was so fond of Saanich's new OCP that he was among half the councillors present who didn’t ask a single question of staff about it that night. This is despite that the public, in contrast, spoke overwhelmingly in opposition to the new OCP, asking many pertinent questions until almost 1 a.m., the previous week.

Immediately after council passed the third reading of the new OCP on May 7, de Vries pressed for a fourth reading as well, which took place right after the third that night; something that the press described as "unusual".

De Vries' statement about density appears to me to lack a mathematical basis. Density has not equated to affordability in New York City, London, Toronto, Vancouver, nor in the City of Victoria.

During his deliberation, he vacillated between using the terms “affordability" and "attainable" as if they are interchangeable, something that brings to mind George Orwell’s concept of “double think” in the novel 1984.

Equating density to affordability appears to me to be as irrational as The Party’s mathematical formula in 1984: 2+2=5.

His statement itself reminds me of the nonsensical slogans from The Party. It looks as if his statement could complete them: Slavery is Freedom; Ignorance is Strength; Density is Affordability.

Sasha Izard