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Letters Nov. 24: Remember the Holodomor; fallout from the premier's strata changes

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Wheat and candles on display as part of Holodomor Remembrance Day in Lviv, Ukraine, in 2013. A letter-writer reminds readers that Vladimir Putin is apparently trying to finish what Josef Stalin started in the 1930s. DIXOND VIA WIKIPEDIA

Commemoration of the Holodomor

Most Canadians are well informed about the Holocaust, Adolf Hitler’s state- sponsored attempt to eradicate the Jewish populations of Europe during the Second World War.

However, most are unaware of the Holodomor, a state-sponsored famine which occurred less than a decade before the war.

The last Saturday in November marks the commemoration of the Holodomor, a forced famine that claimed the lives of millions of men, women and children in Ukraine and other areas in 1932-33, during the reign of terror of Josef Stalin. Unfortunately there are many such historical tragedies as the Holodomor, and the Holocaust: These tragedies, and their victims, must not ever be forgotten. The deep sorrow of generations reminds us that genocide never can be forgivable, nor forgotten.

Under its current leader, the war criminal “Rash Putin,” Russia continues its attempts to subjugate and slaughter Ukrainians, destroy Ukraine’s cities and towns, and Russify a sovereign democratic Ukraine. Western support for Ukraine must continue unabated to oust the Russian invaders for once and all. Russia can never extinguish the eternal flame that is Ukraine.

Holodomor Memorial Day recalls an unspeakable tragedy imposed on Ukraine by the malignant tyrant, Stalin. However, it is fundamentally a commemoration for all, irrespective of heritage: It reminds us to learn from the past to be wary of the modern-era tyrants amongst us, and their nefarious agenda.

There are many excellent sources that provide researched historical accounts of the Holodomor — Harvest of Sorrow by Robert Conquest and Red Famine by Anne Applebaum — are two such sources.

Lest we forget such historical tragedies as the Holodomor.

Gordon Zawaski

Parksville

Condo rental change will drive up costs

So the NDP government is intent on forcing changes to age and rental restriction bylaws in condo corporations to assist in solving the housing crisis.

Condo owners who want to avoid the headaches and additional costs of having their buildings become rental apartment buildings have no say at all. When there was an NDP/Green Party alliance, the Green Party wanted to forgo foreign ownership (investment) of real estate in B.C. The NDP were not interested.

Ask any real-estate agent what these bylaw changes will do to unit values — they trend upwards in buildings that allow rentals and have no age restrictions. With this change, investors (local and foreign, legitimate and money launderers) will get wealthier.

The taxpaying, live-in owners of condos who would never vote for these bylaw changes? Too bad. Voters should read Sam Cooper’s Wilful Blindness and wake up, but they won’t.

Most will continue to walk their rescue dogs, shop on FB Marketplace and take pics of their food … while malevolent corruption continues unabated.

Ryan Armstrong

Victoria

Windfall from changes to strata property act

Dear Premier David Eby: I am writing to congratulate you on your housing initiative, including, in particular, the amendments to the Strata Property Act that will remove rental restrictions from strata units. This proposed change will put money in my pocket, and I want to thank you personally.

I own a unit in a no-rental building in Victoria. When I moved here, this type of unit was the only form of home ownership that was within my reach. Strata units in buildings with rental restrictions are priced at the lower end of the market due to the limited pool of potential purchasers. It was a stretch for me, but I was able to swing it.

With the removal of the rental restriction, the value of my unit will shoot up. If I move, I will see a substantial windfall because my unit will be very attractive to investors. Buildings with rental restrictions are older and in the core areas.

My unit has nearly 1,000 square feet and a very high walk score. I have a car, but I use it once a month. Everything I need is walkable. These units will be highly rentable and will be priced accordingly.

So, for people like me, it’s a win-win situation. If I sell, I reap a substantial bundle of money that was entirely unexpected. If I stay, I can rent my unit for top dollar. Woo hoo!

Unfortunately, this is a lose-lose situation for the people you are ostensibly trying to help. The last remaining dregs of what amounts to affordable home ownership will vanish as the prices of units like mine climb. And any rental properties that open up will be priced beyond the reach of ordinary people like me.

Congratulations, Mr. Eby, job well done.

Sharon McCartney

Victoria

Incentives needed to keep landlords

Premier David Eby’s two bills regarding housing targets and ending rental restrictions are pretty ambitious. B.C. has been facing housing shortages in urban areas for many years, and thousands of people are moving into the province steadily every year.

The premier has overlooked one very important factor in his address regarding the availability of rental properties and incentives to landlords willing to rent out their units.

Without the willingness of landlords, a steady supply of rental units is not possible. The laws in B.C. are tipped in favour of tenants, leaving the landlords in a lurch to get rid of unruly renters.

The annual rent increase is so minimal that it does not make it feasible for the landlord to offer their properties for rent. I have been a landlord for over 30 years and fortunately have excellent renters.

However, the cost of maintenance and upkeep has gone up so much it is becoming difficult to afford rental property.

If the premier wants his housing bills to become successful, he needs to provide incentives to landlords to stay in the rental business. He also needs to provide a fast-track easy and hassle-free dispute-resolution process to deal with difficult renters.

The premier’s effort in removing restrictions is good, but not enough in resolving the rental crisis.

It is clear that if landlords do not offer their homes and properties for rental purposes, there will be no rental units. The problem should be tackled from several fronts.

Mano Sandhu

Victoria

Rental housing depends on investments

Who wants to rent out property when it is so difficult to remove delinquent tenants? Why take the risk when they will trash the place when they are eventually evicted?

If Premier David Eby wants more rental units built, then make it an attractive investment opportunity.

M.J. Berry

Nanaimo

Before sardine living, try amalgamation

The honeymoon is over. It didn’t take 100 days for the bloom to wither off the rose; it wasn’t even 100 hours.

Premier David Eby has set housing targets for municipalities, Victoria among them, to increase housing availability and affordability by provincial law, forcing the municipalities to adopt unpopular housing schemes to counter an unrestricted influx of residents with no place to live.

Victoria has a population density of 4,400 people per square kilometre. Hong Kong’s is 6,300. We are two-thirds of the way there. Is that really what the residents of Victoria want? To look like Hong Kong? I suspect not.

If Eby is determined to steamroll his utopian vision of sardine living in Victoria, he must first legislate amalgamation so that the density can be spread to surrounding municipalities that actually have room to grow outward, like Langford, which has a density of 668, and leave Victoria proper alone.

As columnist Les Leyne said, Eby had the chance to do all this while he was actually the minister responsible for housing, but he didn’t. Might I suggest that it was too unpalatable for his colleagues then?

Well, now he’s the boss man, and can force it down the MLAs’ throats.

Nice going, David Eby.

David Hansen

Victoria

Forcing strata rentals will reduce supply

My fear is that speculators and others with rentals in mind will enter the market for condos, reducing availability for potential owners who want to buy a condo that would be their home.

Ron Gieck

Courtenay

Eby’s priorities are misplaced

What good does it do to make it easier for young families to find rental housing when they move here from other provinces if they have no hope of finding a doctor when they arrive? Or a pediatrician? Or a dermatologist? Or mental-health experts? Or a medical oncologist? Or a well-staffed emergency room? Or …

Barbara Abercrombie

Victoria

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• 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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