Delta independent council candidate Mike Smith says its time to stop talking in generalities and the usual spin when it comes to housing.
“Innovate, outside-the-box thinking hasn't been part of city hall's mandate. Paterson Park is a great example where part of that can be used for seniors’ aging-in-place care including a seniors’ dementia village that was recommended by a working group years ago. Why should our elderly be forced to move outside our community?” asks Smith in a news release.
Seniors and their evolving housing needs is an issue that has become most urgent as our population ages, so a new mindset is needed at the municipal level, finally.
On the issue of varied and affordable housing for others including young adults wanting to stay in Delta, Smith says there is no need to “re-invent the wheel” because the city already produced a report from a housing task force a decade ago. The market may have changed but the recommendations are still mostly good ones. Having the political will to follow through on those, and follow through on ideas already being used elsewhere, is all that’s needed.
“Look at the over-densification and traffic nightmare that’s about to happen on 72nd Avenue because of the two townhouse development approvals which gave the developers way too much, or the developer-friendly high-rise on Scott Road that’s going to open the door for even more big problems, like what’s going to happen for 75A Avenue,” says Smith on the housing component of his multi-point platform on restoring Delta's neighbourhood livability.
“My fear is that in Tsawwassen we will see a townhouse proposal on 8A Avenue that is completely out of whack with the rest of the community. These are the kind of one-offs that are damaging neighbourhood livability and setting the precedent for developers to try to get away with even more because the city has no plan,” warns Smith.
“I’m saying yes to more density, but have it in a well-planned manner, spread out and, more importantly, consult before an application is even submitted with the various neighbourhoods. Be pro-active. See what streets and configurations work and don’t quite work but might be good for something else.”
Delta planning staff, the public, landowners and specialists can get together in a series of consultations, look at each specific neighbourhood to see what might work. What’s needed is neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood consultation, while avoiding over-densifying areas like those unlucky enough to have had a developer putting together a land assembly and then squeezing every last inch and variance possible, and usually getting it from council, says Smith.
He also says the city's incentives for rental housing or condos is beyond poor. "Once again, another example of ineptitude," says Smith, an advocate and labour leader.
The election take place Oct. 20.