Letter submitted by Cadboro Bay Resident to the Cadboro Bay Residents Association:
The Mayor of Saanich has been promoting the concept of prezoning, in the press and on his website. Prezoning would massively curtail the number of community hearings on zoning processes, greatly reducing community power and influence in shaping their own future. This would in many ways be devastating for local democracy.
Unfortunately the public at large is barely aware of prezoning and what it entails and just how much it will affect both them and their communities. What few awareness there is about prezoning, tends to be marketed through extensive PR and misleading names, such as ‘The Missing Middle’, ‘Inclusionary Housing’ etc., often emanating from developers and their lobbies and then parroted by politicians at various levels of government.
The extensive PR campaigns to guise and promote prezoning as something friendly to the working class and communities, is not a surprise as the chief financial beneficiaries will be those in the development and Real Estate industries, who through subdivisions that will massively raise square meter cost on the properties, will profit considerably from the process and affordability will continue to suffer as a consequence.
The BCGEU has noted that so called Missing Middle Housing does not offer affordability. This was even confirmed by the Chair of a major local development lobby.
Thus when the Mayor, and various committees use the word “attainable” to describe proposed housing instead of affordable, it should be raising red flags. A palace is attainable. That doesn’t mean it’s affordable for the working public. PR euphemism should always raise eyebrows of suspicion whenever it is utilized.
Wouldn’t it be sage thinking for Saanich to sit back and see how Victoria’s experiment with MMHI pans out, before recklessly following suit, just because Victoria is doing it?
Afterall, Victoria’s experiments always turn out a success right? Victoria’s reckless march to density has conversely led to it being one of the most expensive places in the country to live. We all know who benefits under that scenario, and I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t the middle.
Due to the lack of the public’s knowledge about an issue that will affect them so immensely as prezoning, I suggest that the CBRA undertake to educate the public on this issue and explain what it will entail for the public and how when passed will effectively curtail their ability to participate in the vast majority of future hearings on individual zoning processes.