Letters: Richmond councillor defends her duplex vote

Dear Editor,

Re: “Councillors denying our kids a home,” Letters, Nov. 21.

I wanted to express my thanks to developer Dana Westermark for the questions he posed about affordable housing options in Richmond.

As one of only two council members under 40, I can assure Mr. Westermark that affordability is top of mind for our generation. I am acutely aware of the affordability gap in both rental and ownership homes, and am deeply troubled by the ballooning proportion of seniors to young people in Richmond. Who will work in our city? Where will their families live?

It is clear that “business as usual” has not solved the housing crisis. Continuing to do the same thing, and expecting a different result is foolish. We need to better serve this community and our future generations, and I keep that as a focus with each project decision that comes to council. I may ask for improvements to a project or if that project does not work for the community, I may vote against it. This may mark a change from what developers have previously experienced.

I voted against the proposal for arterial road duplexes because it does not go far enough to address our community’s long-term needs. While it increases housing density on Williams Road from one to four units, we need more density and it should be affordable for Richmond families. Besides, projected population increases are likely to result in the duplexes being torn down in favour of townhouses or more dense developments within 20 to 30 years, making this current project a total waste of time, money and resources. There are already townhouse developments nearby, which even further increases the likelihood of demolition.

On top of this, there is currently an insatiable appetite for tearing down more affordable duplex housing types inside neighbourhoods and replacing them with single family luxury houses. We need thoughtfully designed duplexes inside our neighbourhoods, and not on arterial roads. This used to be the norm in Richmond and I will continue to push for progress so that we can bring families and a feeling of community back to our suffering neighbourhoods.

For anyone interested in watching this council meeting, it is at Bit.ly/2PiWznE.  My comments begin at minute 1:35:40.

Additionally, I recommend residents to check our voting record at Richmond.ca/VotingRecord.

Coun. Kelly Greene


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