Many residents in View Royal are starting to question the way business is being conducted in our town, and in return, those who have shown civic concern have had their personal character attacked in public online forums by those in powerful positions.
The proposed development at West Park Lane (the former five-hectare Thetis Lake Campground across from the CRD parking lot at Thetis Lake Park) is a 152 affordable housing complex which consists of income assistance to near market units. The issue at hand is not affordable housing. The community has demonstrated at the Council meeting on May 21 that we support locating affordable housing on this property. However, what we do not support is entirely waiving $920,000 of the Development Cost Charges.
Affordability is also a major concern. If the idea of this development is to provide affordable living in the community, then why does View Royal raise property taxes by 5.2 per cent on the one hand while offering to subsidize almost $1 million for a multi-million-dollar corporation on the other hand? For a town of under 11,000 people, this is a lot of money to waive.
Taxation is often forgotten in the equation of affordability. Affordability for the future residents should also be taken into consideration.
Finally, as of right now, View Royal lacks any policy on affordable housing. By pushing through the DCC waiver without concrete and identifiable policies, View Royal will inevitably create inequity amongst businesses and municipalities in the area. Multiple businesses have spoken up in opposition to waiving the developer’s DCC fees entirely by calling into question why their market-value projects didn’t receive such leniency when their higher-end units are rentable for below the proposed affordable housing’s rent schedule.
We believe that transparency, affordability and policy considerations are required in View Royal before town hall considers waiving over $920k in DCCs which could have drastic impacts on future community improvements.
Stephen Oxley and Thea Wilson-Scorgie