From atop Chard Development’s Yello rental building on Yates Street, one can see other Victoria residential projects in the works. Creating new, more expensive units is not helping address the unaffordability of the city’s housing, says reader. Don Denton/Black Press

Helps, City strategies far from enhancing quality of life

Allowing expensive projects to replace older buildings only serves to entitle property owners

Mayor Lisa Helps has spearheaded a four-year unrestricted growth strategy with little concern for the consequences of her unaffordable housing approvals record. How? By favouring the top 20 per cent of income-earning homeowners at the expense of city renters.

She’s overseen streamlining of the development approval process, elimination of minimum housing unit size, a reduction in parking requirements, supported housing conversions, encouraged garden and secondary suites and fast-tracked rental housing proposals. She and council have offered incentives and tax exemptions for heritage restoration and seismic upgrading, and updated rezoning regulations which did not result in more affordable housing, or eliminated the housing crisis.

Far from enhancing the quality of life and well-being of everyone, Mayor Helps has consistently protected the entitlements demanded by property owning investors.

This has meant building more luxury condos and supporting short-term rentals to accommodate tourists in a city with a less than one per cent vacancy rate.

For working individuals and moderate income pensioners, the mayor promises demolition of affordable rental units across the city, displacement and revitalized housing options. Not to mention conversion of character homes into strata-titled houseplexes and premium priced pied-a-terres along transit corridors – all unaffordable housing choices, now hyped in the name of gentle densification, energy efficiency and active transportation.

Fewer than 10 per cent of current residents can afford a home in their neighbourhood. Typical households spend more than half their gross income on shelter. Between 2006 and 2016, Victoria’s rental housing costs grew by 35 per cent, against an income-growth of 6.6 per cent.

So much for compact living not shrinking your quality of life.

Victoria Adams

Victoria

Just Posted

Used books on sale at Nellie McClung library branch in Saanich this weekend

Admission of $10 Sunday afternoon when all books are free

Warrant issued for man who missed court in Victoria

In 2012 Derek McLean was prematurely released due to a paperwork mistake

Playoff hockey is where memories are made for Canadians

Royals GM, players, fans and broadcasters share top playoff memories

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps hires new chief of staff

Alison James will take over as head of strategy and operations on April 23

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Nowhere to grieve: How homeless people deal with loss during the opioid crisis

Abbotsford homeless advocate says grief has distinct challenges for those living on the streets

ICBC shifts to Alberta model, with higher rates, private insurers say

B.C. public insurance includes funding enforcement, driver licensing

B.C., feds accused of ‘environmental racism’ over Site C, Mount Polley

Amnesty International Canada says governments failed to recognize threats to Indigenous peoples

New Leger polls suggests federal Liberals lagging Conservatives

Overall, 31 per cent of respondents polled said they would vote for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals

Most Read