Bold action needed to create housing spaces
The recent Union of B.C. Municipalities report asserting that housing supply is keeping up with population growth in B.C. is missing a key point: There isn’t enough housing for the people who are already here.
A first step in addressing future housing needs is understanding the outstanding housing needs in our communities today. This is known as latent demand or pent-up demand.
In 2020, the City of Victoria released “Victoria’s Housing Future,” which showed that in Victoria alone, we are between 4,500 and 6,300 homes short for the people who already live here.
We found there are more adults living in a single household than is historically typical. This includes adults living with their families or roommates rather than moving out on their own, generally pointing to a lack of diverse housing options.
A few weeks ago, at a public hearing, a 28-year-old spoke in favour of a rental building, saying that as much as he loved his mom, he’d really like to move out, but there is nowhere for him to rent.
Additionally, many families are overcrowded. They are living in homes that don’t have enough bedrooms for the size and makeup of their household.
Further, rental vacancy rates have been well below the three-to-five per cent range that is considered balanced, making the rental market tight and competitive.
We can also look to job vacancy rates, which have been higher than what is considered healthy, pointing to a lack of housing that is affordable for workers. And finally, we know that many people in the region remain unhoused, notwithstanding the provincial response to the pandemic.
As local governments, we must confront this crisis head-on. We must use all the tools in our toolboxes. And we must welcome new tools from the province when they are offered.
Bold action is required, from all levels of government. The future well-being of our communities and our economies depends on it.
Lisa Helps, mayor
City of Victoria
Support Canadian jobs, not foreign oil
Re: “Trying to profit from the disaster of war,” letter, March 22.
The letter makes the accusation that “the only people suggesting pipelines …. should be ashamed for attempting to profit from disaster.”
Energy independence from foreign oil, family-supporting jobs and significant tax revenues are not usually described as “attempting to profit from disaster.”
There is a reason the Green Party has only two of 338 members in the Parliament of Canada, and the letter shows why.
Jobs in the Canadian energy industry continue to provide many well-paying jobs, not just for Albertans, but for British Columbians as well as Canadians from across the country.
In fact, the Maritimes, and particularly Newfoundland, would have suffered greatly over the past 40 years if not for these jobs.
Global energy demand is estimated to grow 47 per cent by 2050. Constricting Canadian supply will have zero effect on demand; the supply will come from other oil-producing countries.
Opposition to Canadian pipelines results in more world reliance on Russian and Mideast oil that funds Putin’s ambitions and radical jihad.
Please note, Saudi Arabia beheaded 81 people this month, many government dissidents.
Urgent care centre with only one person
At 2 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, a solo registered nurse was “holding the fort” at the James Bay Urgent and Primary Care Centre on Michigan Street.
No doctor, no nurse practitioner, only an RN. That is very scary.
There is more staff at an outpost clinic in the Arctic than an urban clinic in a well-populated community.
As we build more housing, make sure it works
I’m troubled by the apparent love affair with rampant densification that we’re seeing throughout the Capital Regional District. Densification as it’s being practised here is a great idea so long as you don’t have to live in it.
A small noisy plywood box with a view only of the high-rise next door is hardly a dream home, even if it’s convenient for work.
City after city has been ruined into a dehumanized concrete jungle with thoughtless densification. We must not have the CRD go the same way.
“Densify” if we have to, but let’s do it in a way that doesn’t just stack people on top of each other in shelves like some human version of a Walmart or Amazon distribution centre, cramming every building site to the bylaw limit.
The buildings should have immediate greenspace or at least a green view. They should be diligently soundproofed and have at least 30 per cent resident ownership to ensure ongoing good maintenance.
Above all they should be esthetically pleasing, not as at present, having all the visual appeal of a Pyongyang suburb. Perhaps then people would actually want to live there, instead of taking some default position whilst saving for a real home.
Great care given at the Jubilee
On Feb. 8, while visiting from Manitoba, I had a skiing accident at Mount Washington and was sent to Royal Jubilee Hospital, seventh floor south.
I want to recognize the hospital for the excellent care I received over 10 days and to say thank you. The staff who helped me were fantastic, especially the many different nurses who did everything possible to help my recovery.
Special recognition goes to my physiotherapist, Maura, who did so much to help during a difficult time.
Victoria is very fortunate to have so many dedicated health-care professionals working in this facility, especially during such a difficult time.
Minister should deal with school boards
It is time the government takes a stand and demolishes local school boards.
Maybe the government could follow the formula that the Liberals used when they implemented the five health-care regions in B.C. We need competent, educated people who can manage the public purse.
Permanent standard vs. daylight saving time
B.C. plans to introduce permanent daylight saving time, despite scientific research revealing it would result in an ongoing distortion of our biological clocks, which can lead to a wide variety of diseases, including metabolic abnormalities and cardiovascular disease.
Multiple attempts to implement permanent DST over the past 100 years were abandoned after a few years. Now 60 per cent of the world is on permanent standard time, indicating the international community understands the negative effects of DST and rejects it.
By choosing permanent DST, we force our biological clocks out of sync and condemn ourselves to at least four winter months without the correct input of morning light — resulting in continuous jetlag, which promotes fatigue and lower performance.
Standard time is better synchronized with the biological body clock that exists naturally in the plant and animal kingdom. In humans, it provides early morning daylight to strengthen our circadian rhythm, which increases blood pressure, metabolism, appetite and cognitive abilities.
The U.S. National Sleep Foundation recommends permanent standard time, as does the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms, which advises: “DST leads to sleep loss and a mismatch between the body clock and local time (also called social jetlag). Sleep deprivation and social jetlag have negative effects on physical/mental health, including increased risks for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression and some forms of cancer.”
Are you concerned? Write or email your local Member of Parliament and let them know.
Russians must bring much-needed change
A 67-year-old man born in Canada, my country has been at “war” with Russia my entire life.
I agree with the editor that there are no “easy answers” to the Russian invasion. I do, however, think the focus of western ire must be on Russia and on Russians.
The end goal needs to be regime change, and there need to be millions of Russians in the street demanding it. For too long the world has allowed the apology that it is the Russian government and not the Russian people behind Russia’s brutish behaviours. For every Tchaikovsky there is a Stalin, for every babushka scarf there is an Adidas track suit.
Russian heads getting busted and protesters thrown in jail is preferable to what we see in the Ukraine. For my 67 years, by and large, Russia has been ruled by thugs, the true example of a kleptocracy.
Sorry Russians, but it is your time to suffer. Just ask the Ukrainians, Syrians, Chechens, Georgians, Afghans, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians.…
Mark R. Fetterly
Balancing community values in Langford
It’s time to balance our priorities in Langford and become more community-focused. I commend our mayor and council for building Langford into what it is today, but being the fastest-growing city in B.C. comes with responsibilities to current and future residents.
With many developments underway, and many more proposals going through council approval processes, we have new opportunities but also new challenges. We need to balance our population growth with greenspace, amenities, health-care services, transportation improvements to promote cycling and walking and more.
The taller buildings come with more housing in a single area, but will shadow the neighbourhood, and endanger community cohesiveness if meaningful public green space is not included at the ground level of every new development.
I attended the Vision for Downtown Langford presentation on March 5, by Avi Friedman, an amazing urban planner.
He laid out a specific plan for Langford to be a beautiful, thriving community based on moderate height increases, that increase density without sacrificing our skyline and neighbourhood feel, with an emphasis on walking and cycling, and adequate greenspace for fostering community relationships. I support this vision.
Public engagement and consultation build a strong sense of community that can be partnered with a thriving business and development community.
I believe we can have it all, if we balance density growth with the inclusion of more natural amenities, improved pedestrian and cycling routes, and social infrastructure that will make Langford an even better place to live, work and play.
The sky is falling on Victoria’s citizens
My goodness, noisy pickleball, clip-clopping horse carriages, truck convoys et al!
How are the citizens of Victoria going to cope? The sky is falling, the sky is falling.
SEND US YOUR LETTERS
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• 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.