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LETTER: Welcoming newcomers with open arms

Thank you for your thoughtful Nov. 24 editorial about welcoming people who choose to come to Canada. My family made that choice in 1840 when they came here from Ireland to build a better life. We have prospered for seven generations and we are very grateful.

We now must all work together to welcome new Canadians who will become greatly needed additions to our workforce. It is sadly ironic that next to the editorial there was a letter promoting out-of-date concepts of limiting regional development, and stifling people in the process.

North Saanich is home to the region’s major transportation facilities – Victoria International Airport and the BC Ferries Swartz Bay facility – along with growing commercial developments on airport property, including the Thrifty’s and Amazon warehouse facilities. These businesses contribute greatly to our economy, yet North Saanich doesn’t make its workers welcome since there is no effort to provide the “missing middle” housing they need.

Instead, these workers have to move to communities that have encouraged our regional economy to grow and then commute to North Saanich. To those who wish to limit development one can only say shame. Too many put their privileged lifestyle ahead of the real needs of our workforce. Greater Victoria now has the highest cost of living of any city in Canada, largely because of the shortage of housing. Increasingly we are becoming a region of the wealthy and the homeless.

To those who think we are already too crowded, note that Tokyo, one of the greatest cities on Earth, has a population that is almost identical to that of all of Canada. Hong Kong, where my mother was born, is an area slightly larger than Greater Victoria with a population of over 7,000,000. It has preserved 67 per cent of its land base as greenspace. We can have housing, parkland and protected agricultural land. And we must be welcoming to those who respect Canada enough to wish to join us. We must all help provide housing for our community.

Tom Gore

North Saanich