LETTER: Saanich council ignores obligation to housing

LETTER: Saanich council ignores obligation to housing

While I strongly agree with your recent editorial that Saanich should not be restricting secondary suites on new developments in light of the lack of housing supply and extremely low vacancy rate, it unfortunately missed the mark by not addressing an even larger issue.

In the past year, Saanich council has rejected and delayed a number of development applications, including a 25-unit residential development on Doumac Street in Cordova Bay, a 51-unit development on North Dairy across from Hillside Mall, and most egregiously, adding more low-income housing at Townley Lodge, which BC Housing had committed $6.2 million for construction.

These developments, and others, have been delayed due to concerns about parking, height and massing from surrounding neighbours. There must be a balance between addressing these concerns and acknowledging that there is a housing crisis in our region which is causing unsustainable increases to rents and housing prices that is creating an entire generation of citizens, mostly younger, that can no longer afford to live here.

The more these developments are rejected and delayed, the more we are saying to young people that they are not welcome in our community here in Saanich, forcing them to move further and further afield to the margins of our communities, outside of our urban areas and into our beautiful wilderness, paving over forests, fields and farmland, worsening suburban sprawl and traffic congestion.

Saanich council has an economic, social, environmental and moral obligation to provide more housing in our community so that all of us, not just those who already have secure housing, can afford to live here.

Edward Pullman

Saanich