LETTERS: Marigold Lands and affordable units

Thanks to the PNR for the article regarding the potential for increasing the number of affordable housing units.

Thanks to the PNR for the article regarding the potential for increasing the number of affordable housing units in the Marigold Lands Development.

The proposal does a lot of things right from a planning perspective, and it seems the proponents are listening to the neighbors. Marigold is a good location for increased density and provides amenities that support non-automobile uses. It also provides a range of ownership and rental housing options.

However, as currently proposed, Marigold is missing a rare opportunity to help address the need for affordable housing where it is most acute, among modest and lower income households. The proposed eight units of below market rental housing represents about three per cent of the 233 unit development, falling short of Central Saanich’s own OCP guideline of 10 per cent.

I am urging the municipality and the proponent to work together, perhaps in partnership with a non-profit housing provider, to seek out available funding from federal, provincial, and regional governments, so at least 23 rental units (10 per cent of total units) are permanently affordable for lower to modest income households.

Through housing agreements registered on title, Council could ensure these units are targeted as they see fit, for example at workers, seniors, single parent families or persons with disabilities.

I’ve told Central Saanich Council and the Marigold developer I’ll do whatever I can to help secure the necessary funding.

The rental units are scheduled to come onstream in Phase 2 of the development, so we have time to pursue this opportunity.  Let’s not miss it.

Gary Holman, MLA, Saanich North and the Islands.