My sense of hearing is keenly attuned to the arrival of heavy equipment rattling through the tiny streets of my Beach Grove neighbourhood. The trucks I used to hear where for tree removal, nowadays it's for house removal.
No matter where you live in South Delta I’m sure you’ve noticed old houses are vanishing, making way for monster homes with tiny gardens and huge garages.
I get it, renovating Vancouver specials and bungalows is unappealing when you can knock it down and build a palace. Property prices warrant a bigger footprint and single family homes remain king.
We have a housing supply disaster on the horizon. If we want to keep our community inclusive and diverse and dare I say, affordable, we have to plan now. Demand for housing has never been higher and supply never so low.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver says the benchmark price for a home in Tsawwassen is $1,460,000 and a Ladner home is $1,340,000, up more than 25 per cent in two years. Condos average at $648,000 in Tsawwassen and $591,000 in Ladner.
These prices are affordable to only a small sector of society. How can the next generation of middle class live amongst us, they simply can’t.
I often wonder where does the local grocery store clerk or the waitress that serves me live? I guarantee they can’t even dream of renting or owning a home here. The job vacancy rate in Delta is shocking, because most employees have to commute.
Some residents of Beach Grove were ecstatic after an application for a 20-unit townhouse development on the Beach Grove Golf course was defeated by city council last week. Their petition with 625 names on it helped to persuade some councillors to vote no.
While that may or may not be a win depending on your perspective, it’s fair to say resistance to multi-family housing will continue in South Delta. It’s easy to say we don’t want something from the comfort of our own homes, while others struggle to find affordable housing in a community they love.
Nothing is more consistent than change. Change is scary and the older we get the more resistant we are to it. I am the first one outraged to see green space and character homes disappear, but not if they are replaced with solutions to our housing problems.
Duplex’s, townhomes, low-cost condos, rental buildings, and seniors housing, these must become the future builds in our neighbourhoods. Embrace diversity, it’s the future, whether we like it or not.
Ingrid Abbott is a freelance writer and broadcaster who tries not to throw stones at glass houses