There is currently considerable pressure on North Saanich council to approve several high density housing proposals.
I think the belief that many Canadians own their own homes is a widespread myth. I fear that far too few own their homes — the banks own them and there are many who suggest Canada is in an unsustainable housing bubble already showing signs of cracking in Vancouver and Toronto.
Although various agencies keep re-assuring us that a U.S.-style meltdown of the housing market won’t happen here, there are equally many organizations stating the level of personal savings is currently lower in Canada than it was when the U.S. housing market melted down.
Possibly we need new collective ownership strategies for existing housing (such as O.U.R. Ecovillage near Shawnigan Lake) and support for improving the environmental footprints of existing structures.
I do not believe the proposed high-density housing will be affordable for young people who can only find part-time, minimum wage jobs. A proposal for suites and room and board in existing North Saanich residences seems more appropriate to keeping living space affordable.
Part of the issue is determining whether North Saanich is going to be a bedroom community or a farming community. The developers want us to stop farming — some of them have been very clear on that. I personally believe Canada is more desperate for an increase in farmers than it is for an increase in houses.
Similarly, proposals for home-businesses, workshop space, and small businesses would help North Saanich remain sustainable, more than high density housing will.
I think development efforts need to be more focused on quality jobs for young people, rather than housing. Canada needs real, productive, sustainable jobs — not more housing.