Need for housing in North Saanich requires action

Councillor Browne responds to North Saanich resident's letter about housing

Re: Density near airport doesn’t fly (Letters, July 11)

Firstly, the majority on council decided to replace the mayor as CRD director because we were not satisfied that she would not continue representing her own views at CRD contrary to the views of the newly elected council. Not all municipalities are represented by their mayors on CRD. I make no apology for that move. The mayor’s removal and replacement on CRD has nothing to do with the present proposal to provide workforce housing in North Saanich.

Had Ms. Horie been attentive to the recent developments on the Peninsula, she would have known that the impetus for the provision of workforce housing was driven by a group of local businesses that desperately need housing for their workforce. We have been provided with unchallenged statistics that show over 2,000 people work in this area and only 500 actually live here because there is no available housing apart from that which is prohibitively highly priced. These workers mostly live in Langford and Colwood and commute to work on the Peninsula every day – increasing vehicle pollution, traffic congestion, the high cost of travel and stress on young families.

The proposed development of smaller lots and smaller workforce housing will take place only in certain designated areas in the vicinity of the airport and to the east thereof. These areas were identified as being suitable for this type of housing by a previous commissioned housing report in 2008.

Most of the district will not be affected at all. The provision of this housing has nothing to do with “helping the poor.” No farm land will be developed and there is no intent to reshape or alter the character of North Saanich.

Lastly, before any of these measures are put into place there will be ample and adequate opportunity for residents to voice their views at special public meetings called for that purpose and Ms. Horie can rest assured that my colleagues and I on council will be listening.

Dunstan Browne

councillor, North Saanich

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