Re: “Rental-housing tenants not criminals,” “Comments sound like discrimination,” letters, May 16.
Recent letters to the editor have interpreted opposition to the size and density of the Oak Bay United Church real-estate development as some sort of class struggle. This is far from true and is insulting, but the discussion brings up two important points.
First, by providing apartments that are of a suitable size in a building that is of a lower density, prospective tenants might want to stay for the long term. Cramming 98 apartments on to a small lot in the heart of a small neighbourhood would be bad for the tenants and bad for the neighbourhood.
Second, there is a misconception that the church is undertaking this project from the goodness of its heart. I challenge the church to make public the unredacted feasibility study that it presented to B.C. Housing to obtain the $500,000 seed money.
The reason for this overdevelopment will become clear: The church is financially challenged, and only by constructing a large building can it make enough money to “survive.”
To achieve the church’s monetary goals, the current zoning bylaw would be changed, the neighbourhood destabilized and a new benchmark set that would affect all of Oak Bay in the future. Unfortunately, the church has created a struggle between appropriate land use and money, instead of taking the time to work on a collaborative level of public engagement to find a solution that works for all.