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LETTER: Development can build a better community in Saanich

I think we need to balance a lot of the coverage in the Saanich News lately about residents voicing ‘their concerns’ over development in the municipality, with the many of us who are supportive of some more density.

The arguments against the Doral Forest Park development and similar ones in Saanich are pretty thin and seem to be a bit of a fig leaf for classic NIMBYism and those who want to keep seeing their property values soar at the expense of everyone else. Those who cite ‘environmental’ reasons are maybe missing the bigger math of how consumptive single-family homes built in the 1940s are compared to newly-built, energy-efficient and higher-density developments. And protecting one’s ‘rights’ to a view and free parking directly in front of their house is hardly a “moral and ethical” argument in the fairly urgent crisis of how we address a chronic housing shortage in Saanich and across B.C.

While development is only one part of the housing issue, opposing reasonable efforts to increase the housing supply is a direct contradiction to increasing housing affordability and smacks of elitist obstructionism.

Not to mention, the city is and ought to continue growing to become an increasingly nicer place to live. Some more density that would help foster and develop a sense of community built around small businesses is absolutely an end worth pursuing – especially when half of Saanich doesn’t have sidewalks and when Starbucks and A&W are the only businesses that are able to thrive.

We have the opportunity now to decide what we want Saanich to look like going forward by supporting these types of initiatives. A more vibrant community with some vitality and diversity, or a more expensive and homogeneous version of what we have now based around single-occupancy cars, homes, and trips to the strip mall. I’d like to think that I can see beyond the bridge of my nose to know what kind of future I’d choose for my family.

Kevin Elliott