Key to new doors lies with local government

Early on in the process there was consensus around the goal, which was: “to help those who work on our peninsula afford to live here.”

On behalf of the Interim Board of the Peninsula Workforce Housing Partnership, I would like to comment on the editorial, The key to new doors (PNR, April 22).

For the past two years, MP Elizabeth May has convened regular roundtable meetings of an informal group of more than 50 stakeholders, to assist in addressing the multi-jurisdictional challenge that is the high cost of housing in our area, and in particular on the Saanich Peninsula. The group consisted of a cross section of the community, including elected officials, business leaders and concerned residents.

Early on in the process there was consensus around the goal, which was: “to help those who work on our peninsula afford to live here.”

The housing roundtable has focused on developing market solutions for what has been termed “workforce housing.” This is defined as housing that is affordable to households earning 80% to 200% of the target demographics’ median income. In this case, the target demographic is everyone working on the Saanich Peninsula; the range of housing affordability for this group of workers is from $200,000 to $500,000, and everything in between.

Recently, housing roundtable participants determined to support the creation of a Peninsula Workforce Housing Partnership, to continue and focus the work of the roundtable group on developing market solutions to address the problem that is lack of available workforce housing.

Your editorial suggested that this interim body would base its model on the Whistler Housing Authority. This is not the case. Rather, the Whistler model is but one of many successful examples of workforce housing solutions across Canada from which important lessons can be learned.

Our Interim Board is already at work in discussions with developers and planners to attempt to arrange for developer commitments for our first 10 units of newly planned housing as soon as possible. The moment progress is made in this regard the community will be informed. We are operating on the principle of “needing action” rather than more talk.

In addition to the work carried out by the housing roundtable on workforce housing, MLA Gary Holman has offered to lead a study into social housing (low-income, non-market) options and requirements on the Saanich Peninsula. Housing solutions for this demographic are likely to require a significant assisted or subsidized housing component.

The problem of lack of available workforce housing will not solve itself. The key to new doors on the Saanich Peninsula lies in the hands of our mayors and municipal councilors, to make more land-use and planning decisions which will allow the creation of new market housing within the financial reach of local workers.

It is only through our elected officials continuing to demonstrate leadership on this front by taking decisions to address the problem of lack of available workforce housing, and shifting away from the status quo, will we achieve our goal of helping those who work on our peninsula afford to live here.

Silvia Bonet, Interim Board Chairperson, Peninsula Workforce Housing Partnership

Just Posted

Sidney Classical Orchestra returns with four-concert season

Music director Stephen Brown will premiere piece of his own, along with Bach, Handel

Viral video shows Sooke resident calling out illegal crab fishers

The video shows a man and woman with 12 undersized crabs in Sooke

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and MP Alistair MacGregor weigh in on fishing ban

Singh and MacGregor say improving salmon abundance is important

Oak Bay artist celebrates 100 years

Centenarian matriarch credits active artistic lifestyle

Feds respond to sexual assault investigation at CFB Esquimalt

Report of Oct. 5 sexual assault on Vancouver Island base taken over by Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Trudeau pushes for more Saudi accountability in Khashoggi killing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is still seeking clear answers from Saudi Arabia about what happened to Jamal Khashoggi

Government looks for public input on Cathedral Grove safety concerns

Port Alberni, Parksville info sessions invite public to help ‘shape future access’

School bullying video shows how people with disabilities are devalued: advocates

Brett Corbett, who has cerebral palsy, is seen in a video being stepped while lying in water

CFL will use extra on-field official to watch for illegal blows to quarterback

If the extra official sees an illegal blow that has not already been flagged, they will advise the head referee, who can then assess a penalty for roughing the passer

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 14

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

EU divorce deal in peril after two UK Cabinet ministers quit

Negotiators from Britain and the European Union have struck a proposed divorce deal that will be presented to politicians on both sides for approval, officials in London and Brussels said Tuesday.

Northern California fire death toll at 56; 130 missing

Many of the missing are elderly and from Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 to the north of Paradise.

Most Read