A commentary by a Victoria resident.
I have been thinking lately about the “housing crisis” that has been using up so much ink in the Times Colonist and oxygen in City Hall chambers, and have finally concluded that those people (public and elected) who trumpet the need for more housing in the city of Victoria, (the “missing middle”) have sorely missed the whole concept of regional existence in lower Vancouver Island.
A bit of background information is in order. Most (not all, for sure) people who live on the Saanich Peninsula, if they are travelling, when asked where they are from, inevitably reply “Victoria.”
Why? Because everyone knows where Victoria is, and nobody knows where Colwood is. It saves a lot of geography lessons over the course of time.
While many (not all) residents of the 13 colonies, er, municipalities, do not want amalgamation, it doesn’t matter a whit whether or not you live in Saanich, Sidney or Langford, you can easily travel to Victoria to do whatever you want to do.
Evil comparison? Think the Langley commute.
There is one very big difference between these three (or 12 depending on your bent) urban areas and Victoria. Victoria has no more room to build. It cannot expand. There are no vacant lots. Anywhere.
Trying to shoehorn even more residents into an already crowded space is insanity. The effect will be to create a dissatisfaction with living conditions, even more than already exists.
If the housing experts at City Hall think this is a good thing, I beg them to look at the history of urban blight across North America, and not pretend it cannot happen here. It can.
The building of apartments, duplexes, fourplexes and what have you can proceed in Saanich in a multitude of reasonable locations. Central Saanich villages, same thing. North Saanich, fine, if the contractor provides security guards.
Victorians simply ask the question: why should Victoria destroy itself, which it is sure to, when alternatives exist?
And, by the way, if you haven’t studied basic economics, price and availability are the only things keeping the lid on the population explosion here.
You subsidize the rents, and people will pour in from the mainland, just as the homeless have done under the expert guidance of former mayor Lisa Helps and company.
Victoria is an expensive place to live. If you can’t afford it, or you can’t find it, live somewhere you can afford.
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