LETTER: Affordable housing exists in North Saanich

Congratulations to mayor and council on your recent election to serve the citizens of North Saanich.

I wish to correct a comment in the Nov. 10 Peninsula News Review made by Modus that no affordable housing has been built since the inception of Areas 1 and 2. Firstly, they made no comment on the three apartments built in Area 2 (Tsheum) on McDonald Park Road. Secondly, they failed to mention the 10-townhouse Habitat development in Area 1 (McTavish). Although, on the east side of the highway, that particular area is part of the present Area 1. These properties were built primarily on bare land thus allowing for more affordability and in one case, assistance from the developer.

I’m not an economist, but to purchase the houses on the land west of the highway, at current prices, raze them and try to build affordable housing, does not seem to make economic sense. Perhaps this is why there has been no uptake to build.

To find raw land, i.e. arable land, Modus has proposed extending Area 1 from East Saanich Road to Cresswell, on land that is primarily arable land. This was not in the old OCP considered as Area 1, nor consistent with the Regional Growth Strategy.

If Area 1 was returned to its former land use designation, some of the properties could provide for carriage houses, with benefit to the homeowner and people looking for rental accommodation, without greatly affecting infrastructure and associated costs to other residents of North Saanich.

As a matter of interest, we have 109 units of affordable housing in North Saanich including the Habitat homes, 40 seniors homes at Windward, 24 B.C. Housing homes for low-income families, five rental-assist families in market housing, seven senior housing in private market housing and 23 units for special needs supported by B.C. Housing.

Lorrene Soellner

North Saanich