Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Victoria exporting housing to the U.S.

Re: “Four-plex to get new life across the strait,” May 5.

Re: “Four-plex to get new life across the strait,” May 5.


What’s wrong with this picture?

Port Townsend, Washington, gets the Carmel, a lovely affordable building with hardwood floors and spacious apartments, “in excellent shape” according to its city manager. Victoria gets another poorly planned condo-mondo block with million-dollar upper-storey units.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps says she’s “baffled.” Well, here’s an unbaffling: We can’t have affordable housing in this city if we keep tearing it down.

For generations, Victoria developed gradually with the consensus that we would manage growth and keep the best of the city’s natural and built environment. That’s why we’re still a place people all over the world want to visit and live in.

But the current council and planning department seem to be captivated by development. How high? How fast? How poorly planned and inappropriate to the neighbourhood? Build it!

The more new development we approve, the more unaffordable housing becomes. That’s because much of it is about financing, investment, money looking for a safe harbour — not about housing people. Next up, I’m told, are $10-million suites in the old Customs House on the Inner Harbour.

Meanwhile, the folks in Port Townsend will welcome the Carmel to its shores. When it’s in place, the final cost will be under $100,000 per unit.

“You can’t build new construction of this quality for that,” said volunteer Mark Blatter.

Victoria’s poorly housed can take the ferry to PT to visit this beautiful old building that other people will be living in.


Sid Tafler