Council questions housing survey

Industry report presented to North Saanich council

District of North Saanich council members heard a presentation recently from Robin Richardson, vice-president of operations at Scott Plastics, on the housing survey done within the industrial sector on the Peninsula.

Richardson’s aim was to illustrate the need for affordable housing on the Peninsula and he brought forward several different points during his presentation.

Richardson explained he found that only 26 per cent of employees questioned in the survey who work at one of the industries live on the Peninsula and he also noted that 27 per cent of respondents who don’t currently live on the Peninsula would be interested in renting on the Peninsula. According to Richardson, 44 per cent said they would be interested in purchasing.

But Richardson had to answer to some tough questions from Mayor Alice Finall who was skeptical of his finding that approximately $80 million of payroll a year from the industrial sector on the Peninsula (out of $110) leaves the community.

“How do you substantiate the $80 million figure? Most of these people pay rent or a mortgage, and any other (living) costs, so that money doesn’t stay in the community anyway,” she said.

Councillor Celia Stock was more supportive of the presentation, acknowledging that the group understands there is lack of affordable housing on the Peninsula.

“All of us on council agree we need affordable housing,” she said.

The survey was conducted on employees from the Ramsay Group, Scott Plastics, Viking Air, Axys Technologies, Seastar Chemicals and Thrifty Foods.