Creating appropriately priced housing for Victoria-area families does not seem part of the City of Victoria’s development strategy, says letter writer. File photo

Creating appropriately priced housing for Victoria-area families does not seem part of the City of Victoria’s development strategy, says letter writer. File photo

Affordability clearly not part of the housing equation in Victoria

Resident says new developments continue to leave lower income residents out of the mix

Re: Mayor’s Message, June 1

Neighbourhoods for everyone, declares Mayor Helps.

So? Is this why council’s bent over backwards for four years? To build premium-priced downtown condo towers? The most recent controversial development approval went to Bellewood Park, on the former Truth Centre site at 1201 Fort St. Now, it’s being marketed as life among the trees, meaning the trees will be chopped down to make way for this latest palace in paradise.

But, what about the City’s ‘character neighbourhoods?’ High-density commercial/residential unaffordable complexes, comprising ‘large urban villages’ along Cook Street (in Fairfield) and at Five Corners (in James Bay)?

Supported by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association, the City ignored affordable housing covenants on provincial land sold to Jawl/Concert Properties to build the multi-million dollar Capital Park project. What did James Bay residents receive in return? Government offices, a grocery store, high-priced residential units and leased space for a library branch.

With the support of her 2014 campaign contributor Gene Miller, a member of the 2015 Housing Affordability Task Force, Helps pitches more housing. Miller is full of new buzzwords: gentle density and Affordable, Sustainable, Housing (ASH) that will deliver neighbourliness and sense of continuity. More housing hype – a plan to convert character homes into multiple-strata units within the same building unit. Here’s another increased density, unaffordable housing choice only within reach for those with incomes high enough to set up residence in Fairfield and Gonzales.

Mayor and council recently approved 12 unaffordable housing units on two single lots in James Bay. The developer? Another member of the Housing Affordability Task Force, who admitted that the project won’t meet everyone’s needs. Clearly, not the needs of 25 to 29 year olds starting families. In fact, this project is displacing a young tenant family with nowhere to go.

Victoria Adams

Victoria

City of Victoria