Town can take the blame

Reader finds it interesting to read N.S. councilors comments on affordability of housing

Re: Delay denied article Oct. 5, 2012

I find it interesting to read N.S. councilors comments on affordability of housing.

Elsie McMurphy is correct when she states “there will never be a guarantee that homes built by a developer will be affordable,” especially with today’s municipal attitudes.

In fact the municipality can take partial blame for this view with the addition of all the new fees for construction.

A better use of the amenity charge is another way to help ensure that at least some truly ‘affordable’ housing is built in our community. North Saanich council continually asks those seeking density increases ‘what’s in it for the community’ and rightly so. But when the amenity fee is paid – in cash, land or other forms the council has the opportunity to use all or part of that fee in support of affordable housing.

Local housing workers and their families can afford is such a huge challenge it won’t be solved by any one approach. Councils can help make private developments more affordable by streamlining the process and taking a hard look at fees and charges. But if they want an even stronger price guarantee they’re going to have to look at the way the amenity fees are spent and  look more closely at ways that the housing support monies they contribute to the CRD can be used locally.

Ian Brown and I have, for over four years, pitched to all Peninsula councils the non-developer Chamber of Commerce limited approach to attainable housing. Unfortunately, no one on council has opened their ears to hear the message.

With Ian’s attainable housing proposal, a project would be run by a society and with municipal co-operation the price could be guaranteed.

Next time Ian gives his talk on his attainable housing solution, take a minute, listen and ask him how it works.

Denis Paquette



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