This is in reference to the letter to the editor in the April 6 Oak Bay News, “Fight to Preserve neighbourhood character casts shadow on housing crisis.” It seems the writer has not noticed that most single-family homeowners are not well-heeled or selfish. They are hard-working, and due to the current economic conditions, are struggling to pay inflation-driven price and tax increases.
Reports indicate in April 2023 Canadian household debt was at a record $2,116 billion, with mortgage debt being the biggest driver. It would be safe to assume then that many, if not most homeowners, are paying off mortgages and personal debt.
Additionally, almost all resident opposition is not against development, but wants proposed development to be balanced and sustainable. Residents generally oppose maximum-profit, environmentally destructive and character destroying, over-development proposals.
There was a time when residents were encouraged to join neighbourhood groups and take an interest in their community. The writer now considers that these volunteer neighborhood associations are influential, well-organized lobbying groups and that they use trivial concerns to block development.
One can only wonder what her assessment is of the powerful, well-financed, lobbying Urban Development Institute that has professional government lobbyists and many local council lobbying committees.
It’s obvious which of these associations has the most pull considering Premier Eby’s proposed legislation that will eliminate single-family neighbourhoods provincewide, and the many invasive developments that B.C. municipalities have and are continuing to approve.
What is not clear is what the plan is when every municipality is congested, has crowded living conditions and the next wave of people that will require housing is on the way.