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Letters Dec. 6.: Pros and cons of strata rental restrictions; Cowichan's billion-dollar hospital

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Letter-writers have a variety of opinions on the province's removal of most rental restrictions on condominiums. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Follow the money with new strata law

At the risk of being labelled paranoid or believing in conspiracy theories, I would like to note the chain of money that is possible, given the new law about forced rentals in non-rental condo communities.

First, developers continue developing new buildings for condos that are generally out of the range of affordability to the average salaried person. City council wants the revenue from these developers, so it fails to demand/exact a percentage of low-cost condos being included in every new building. They also do not enforce rent control. So who can the developers sell to?

Then, the government says that all condos (more or less) must be available for renting. So we have a number of wealthy people who start to invest by buying up condos that they can then rent out — an increasing landlord system. The developers can increase condo prices and continue to build. The landlords make money. The city is making big bucks and refusing to enforce rent control.

The developers and landlords will continue to pour cash into the political party that stands behind this. So who suffers? The poor and increasingly the middle class — but it will produce this effect quite slowly, so by the time the situation gets worse, no one will look back and see where it all started.

This new move will not solve any housing problems. Once again the rich will get richer and the poor will suffer.

Paranoid? Building conspiracy theories? Just saying.…

Elfrida Schragen

Victoria

New law will improve housing availability

I am pleased with the province’s new initiative to create rental space by disallowing stratas from excluding renters.

We own a house in a strata community and my strata has, until now, prohibited renting out one’s property. I don’t like that rule and think this is a sensible initiative to improve opportunities for rental housing at this time of crisis in affordable rental housing.

Erik DeWiel

Ladysmith

Real property rights breached by government

Having saved a downpayment and paid a mortgage and taxes, I presumed I owned my home.

By cancelling the law that permitted condo owners to limit or restrict rentals of their collective home, the NDP governmen showed I was wrong.

The state has, in essence, expropriated my home for its political goals without compensation. It will, in fact, cost condo owners more in building insurance, maintenance and administration so investor landlords can make a profit.

It creates, ironically, a real strata within strata corporations: investor owners can write off the costs of maintaining their rental properties, while resident owners cannot.

Investor owners have no need to manage their investment — or the behaviour of tenants — because resident owners who voluntarily administer their collective asset will do the work for them.

Responding to the federal gun ban extending to hunting rifles, Conservative MP Blaine Calkins said “‘it would break the social contract’ in Canada, where citizens have a reasonable right to own property that should not be breached arbitrarily by the government.”

The NDP government has broken the social contract with owners of 300,000 condominium units to get less than one per cent of them to the rental market. This is a tiny, short-term gain that will have lasting consequences to resident condominium owners.

Lael Trotter

Victoria

Strata rental change will create headaches

As explained by several recent letters and commentaries, not only will the changes proposed by Premier David Eby not improve our housing situation, but they will make condo ownership more difficult and keep the Conflict Resolution Tribunal very busy.

Stratas will now have three interested parties, all with different agendas: Owner/occupiers, owner/investor landlords, and renters. Sitting on strata council will be a major headache.

R.A. Green

Victoria

Strata owner-occupiers might have no say

I am a senior resident of a strata townhouse in Victoria. It is a small (seven-unit) owner-occupied, self-managed building.

I purchased my unit about 30 years ago, partly because it had rental restrictions.

I was not aware that the British Columbia government had a vote in this matter. We pay our property tax like all other home owners, and receive no assistance from the government.

How is it that the government can override the democratic choice of the owners by compelling strata corporations to allow rentals?

I believe that this new legislation will encourage both domestic and foreign investors to purchase units in a strata. In the case of a small, owner-occupied building this could have a negative effect on the standard of maintenance and the lifestyle choices of current owners.

In the case where one investor could buy up most of the units, any remaining owner-occupants would have no say in the management of the building.

I cannot see how these measures will help the housing situation in British Columbia. For example, if I chose to rent out my unit, then I would have to find somewhere else to live, therefore exchanging one for one.

If the idea is that the rents would somehow be lower and thus available to those with lower incomes, I would suggest the owners would charge whatever rent the market will allow.

I do not represent any particular strata corporation.

Edan Davies

Victoria

New strata rules and the speculation tax

With the new rules allowing condos to now be rented, will any empty ones be subject to the speculation and vacancy tax?

Tom Beattie

Saanichton

Cowichan hospital delay has hurt patient care

Re: “Cowichan hospital tab soars $559M — and nobody blinks,” Dec. 2.

Jack Knox’s timely, alarming cost-overrun column about our new Cowichan District Hospital makes many good economic points. They should stun, not bore, taxpayers.

One thing Knox did not mention is how a five-year lag in building our new billion-dollar-and-counting CDH will likely affect care at our chronically overcrowded current hospital. It’s plagued by staff burnout, addiction-crises demands, pandemic fallout, aging-population needs and more.

The silver lining of this red-alert saga in care levels and taxpayer spending simply shows the soaring value of our priceless current hospital where staffers are heroes.

It also ushers urgency of planning now to repurpose our aging hospital to help our new CDH tackle tons of treatment needs.

We expect our local governments, hospital district board, MLAs, MP, staff and taxpayers to prescribe how best to preserve our vital, aging hospital — while treating what Knox describes as an uber-expensive elephant in our waiting room.

Peter W. Rusland

North Cowichan

Work together to end gender-based violence

Nov. 25 to Dec. 10 marks the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The 16 Days Campaign is a global initiative calling for elimination of all forms of gender-based violence.

Several significant dates are highlighted throughout the 16 days, including the Dec. 6 anniversary of the Montreal Massacre — when 14 women were murdered at the École Polytechnique.

Canadian Women’s Foundation data show that 67 per cent of Canadians know at least one woman who has experienced gender-based violence. This violence results from the deeply ingrained gender inequalities and discrimination shaping our laws, governance structures and attitudes.

The Canadian Federation of University Women Victoria joins others in calling for concerted actions at all levels of government to tackle these multifaceted issues.

During the 16 Days campaign and beyond, our actions matter. Taking concrete action creates a ripple effect that can help eliminate violence against women and girls in communities around the world. Here are some actions you can take:

1. Talk to others about the 16 Days campaign. Share posts on social media using the hashtags #16Days #OurActionsMatter #EndVAW

2. Speak up when you hear inappropriate or degrading jokes and language.

3. Write your MP on the urgent need to implement the National Action Plan on Violence against Women and Gender-Based Violence.

4. Light a candle at 5:10 p.m. today to commemorate the 14 victims of the Montreal Massacre. Share your vigil on social media. We can work together for change.

Melanie Wade, president

Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Victoria

Big trucks, horns and unpleasant memories

I have to say that the sound of a giant convoy of big trucks honking their horns in downtown Victoria brought back unpleasant memories.

Bruce Chambers

Victoria

Truck parade did not need all those horns

I was shocked that the event Saturday was a charitable event here in Victoria. The demonstration of noise and street blocking this evening was reminiscent of the incredibly ignorant demonstration last February that we were exposed to in Ottawa.

We were close by and our friends were traumatized by it. This is a bad way to support a good cause. It is tone deaf to what went on in the past year.

Happy to help any food-security-supporting charity as we have volunteered with them for years, but this demonstration defeats that purpose.

A quiet horn-free parade would be welcome and we would fully support it.

Brian Caughey

James Bay

Tough approach needed in downtown Victoria

Re: “Encampments hurting Victoria’s reputation,” letter, Dec. 2.

This letter brought back memories of several conversations with people on a recent visit to the Hawaiian Islands.

Not one single comment about Victoria was favourable, and all said they would never return.

One lovely couple (from Nova Scotia) we lunched with said they should round up the junkies (and needlessly homeless) and ship them off to some garrison with barrack blocks on one of the islands until they are ready to enjoy their warranted return to human society.

A few tough drill sergeants and disciplinarians would straighten most of them out. I was thinking about people’s rights, etc., but then realized we are paying for their existence anyway, so why not?

Barry Tateham

James Bay

Bring back Riverview, end the downward spiral

Re: “We must have courage to give people a time out,” commentary, Dec. 3.

Finally someone echoing my thoughts. Since the closing of Riverview, I have thought we have been doing such a disservice to our mentally ill population, especially our street people, homeless, now also drug-addicted, who find themselves in a hopeless downward spiral.

What will it take to finally get some decision makers who have the backbone to address this issue.

We need another Riverview, period.

J.A. Wood

Victoria

Pay for special treatment — well, sometimes

It’s with an extreme sense of irony that I read that the provincial government is curtailing allowing people to get treatment for fee-paid health-care access, while at the same time B.C. Ferries are giving people who can afford it special treatment, allowing them to pay for exclusive access to more comfortable lounging and eating situations.

I guess the messages is we all need to line up equally to die, but we all get to choose for a fee how comfortably we’re going to get there.

Or is the message to companies like Telus? How dare you intrude on our potential revenue streams?

In B.C. it’a one-size-fits-all for health-care access. On B.C., Ferries special privileges are allowed for a fee. They wonder why people are growing increasingly cynical against government.

Doug Coulson

Saanich

It’s my money and I’d like to get it back

Re: “We need thoughtful dialogue, not bribery,” editorial, Dec. 2.

It’s not bribery. Where does the money come from? Me: It’s my money they are giving back to me. I pay B.C. Hydro every month and if they have money to give back to me, give it back.

Naïve, simplistic, maybe, but it’s money that I will appreciate and enjoy.

Happy Chanukah.

Gerald Marantz

Parksville

Elect a premier who will stay out of our lives

Re: “We need thoughtful dialogue, not bribery,” editorial, Dec. 2.

What we need far more than a change in debate protocol is an elected premier, not one acclaimed. One whose stated belief is to get the state out of people’s lives and marketplace alike.

Brian Nimeroski

Sooke

Amalgamation statement is not correct

Re: “Province needs to act to bring amalgamation,” letter, Dec. 2.

The letter might be guilty of using Merriam-Webster’s word of the year, “gaslighting.”

The letter claims the “Greater Victoria community” voted twice by a 70 per cent margin to proceed with amalgamation. Now, I consider myself quite well-informed in matters of municipal governance in Greater Victoria and I did not draw these same conclusions.

Could it be that the writer is possibly “gaslighting” Times Colonist readers in order to sway opinion?

David Screech

View Royal

SEND US YOUR LETTERS

• Email: letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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