LETTER: Victoria must make housing more attainable

I’ve seen opposition to city-led change from a variety of angles, some honest, some misinformed, and some deceptive. Often, this stems from fear, combined with a lack of understanding.

Victoria’s Missing Middle Housing Initiative simply aims to re-legalize building forms you already see – like the houseplexes of Rockland, small walk-up apartments of Jubilee, and townhouses of James Bay. These are not permitted due to current zoning that encourages the most expensive type of housing, single-family homes. Ironically, these are often inhabited by empty-nesters as families move to the West Shore or away entirely due to skyrocketing prices.

The initiative is not an affordable housing solution. It is one of many ways to increase the supply of attainable housing for families. However, a diversity of credible research supports the idea of “filtering” – those who can afford a new home often hog relatively affordable units due to a lack of options. Higher vacancy rates free up the older, cheaper units for others in higher need.

Lastly, I want to assure fellow Victorians that done right, we will enhance the character of our neighbourhoods. We depend on families, young professionals, service workers and public servants to keep our city pleasant, livable, and enjoyable. The current iteration of the missing middle housing initiative places such an emphasis on character and “compatibility” with neighboring properties that very little will be profitable to build.

We need scientifically backed, ambitious policies that achieve our housing goals without delay. This means less opportunities for consultation for those who consistently attempt to veto all development. It means a sustainable, affordable city. And we won’t have it unless you vote for elected officials that walk the walk.

Finn Kreischer