Letters to the editor.

Affordable housing along the Trans Canada Highway?

Proposed development doesn’t offer any benefits of rural living

Perhaps in the future somebody will paint a mural to show the world how we treat lower income families in Chemainus: we allow for the creation of an ‘affordable’ housing development outside the perimeter of our community where the residents have absolutely no access to parks, recreation, schools, libraries, grocery stores or any services at all within walking distance.

And, of course, their cost of living will therefore be so much higher since they will be completely dependent on their vehicles every time they want to access some service from one of the neighbouring communities. This proposed housing development won’t offer residents any of the benefits of rural living because the housing units will be densely compacted, yet neither will they have any of the benefits of urban living. This is a new model of housing indeed.

Yes, it may be true that we need more affordable family housing, but can we not make room for affordable housing within the core of our community where residents can also have an affordable lifestyle and access to essential services?

There is a reason why we spend taxpayer dollars to develop community plans: so our council members don’t make poorly considered decisions on the spur of the moment because they feel pressured by business interests.

Also, it was suggested by one of our council members that the proposed building site on the Trans Canada Highway is located close to a bus stop on Henry Road for people to get to the more urban areas of the community. This is simply not true. Perhaps that council member would like to attach a pedometer to his hip and make that walk himself. So what is the plan for residents of the proposed community to access bus service if they need it? Will the developer assume the cost of building a sidewalk and bike corridor from the building site to the existing bus stop on Henry Road? Will another intersection be built on the highway to facilitate traffic going in and out? Will the municipality expropriate ALR land along Henry Road west to widen the narrow winding rural road and make access more agreeable to the developer as construction material and machinery go to and from the rural/urban housing cluster?

Why haven’t our council members and the municipality been openly forthright in their decision making on this matter which seems likely to have significant implication for the taxpayers, especially given that the only known beneficiary of this scheme is a private for profit business. These are serious questions with significant consequences and these decisions should not be made without public consultation.

Please weigh in and share your thoughts on this matter so the future of our community isn’t shaped entirely by business interests and council members who deviate from our community plan without any prospect that this proposed housing development will in any way fulfill the need for more affordable housing.

Heather Thomas,

Chemainus

affordable housingMunicipal Government