LETTERS: Say no to the subsidy

I would like to express my opposition to the proposed development referred to as The Sidney on Fourth.

I would like to express my opposition to the proposed development referred to as The Sidney on Fourth.

The Greater Victoria Rental Development Society (GVRDS) portrays this development as a non-subsidized affordable rental housing development. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The estimated dollar amounts that will be lost to Sidney residents as a result of waiving building permit fees and other development fees will be in the neighbourhood of $173,000. Another $112,000 will have to be forgiven by the CRD as a result of fees that the Town collects and transfers to CRD in sewer and water development cost charges. The required site improvements as a result of this development, will add to the burden of Sidney taxpayers.

Based on current property tax values for comparable sized units in the Sidney downtown area, it is estimated Sidney taxpayers will lose between $850,000 and $900,000 over the next 10 years if the GVRDS receives a tax exemption.

A plan to reduce the number of parking spaces from 74 to 30 will, in all certainty, create a substantial parking issue.

Not only will the taxpayers of Sidney have to subsidize this proposed project, they are further discriminated against by virtue of being unable to access this housing if their income exceeds the set parameters. Sounds like discrimination as well as double jeopardy.

Owners who pay property taxes already are being asked to subsidize a project that will have a significant impact on the enjoyment of their property as it currently exists.

Not only will this project be the highest building in the general area, obscuring the current viewpoint for a multitude of residents in the area to some degree, but it will be substantially and undeniably different from the surrounding buildings.

This development, as proposed contains none of the architectural features of other downtown residential developments. No balconies, no rooflines with interesting features, no character.

We can accommodate low to moderate income earners in ways that do not detract from the integrity and beauty of downtown Sidney. We can look at alternatives such as allowing residents to have secondary residential suites that will fulfill the needs of these individuals. We can provide smaller complexes in outlying areas where land costs are less expensive, yet still close to street parking and public transportation routes.

There is no net benefit to the taxpaying citizens of Sidney, and there is a substantial net negative to the residents of the Town.

It is even questionable if businesses in Town will benefit from this project. There are already too many vacant commercial establishments without adding more commercial units to a downtown area that doesn’t need them.

James T. Rea, Sidney

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