Density & Election 2018

Editorial

Tuesday, May 30 2017

It’s too late in this current term for the Local Trust Committee to take on another housing project beyond the scope of what is already being worked on. That being the expansion of what can be done on lots which are already permitted to have a secondary dwelling in the form of a cottage.

But as written by a recent letter from the Gabriola Chamber of Commerce to the Trustees, at some point, a Local Trust Committee is going to have to tackle the elephant in the room - the absolute limit on densities on the island.

As the Chamber stated in the letter, “steps need to be taken urgently to increase the number of densities near the Village Core to stimulate investment possibilities leading to reasonably priced housing - both attainable and Affordable. The housing crisis is a BC-wide crisis. We have the power to change our restrictive legislation if the Trustees and the Gabriola Community are willing to tackle the issues.”

Gabriola continues to see more and more people turn away from island life - not because of a lack of employment, but from a lack of housing the employment can support.

There is no better time to start a tough discussion than going through an election. The next general local government elections will be held on Saturday, October 20, 2018.

Those running for the Trust positions (be they incumbent or not) could run on a platform of opening up on densities; maintaining the status quo; or being open to having a public consultation on the topic.

If there is any part of the Gabriola Official Community Plan and Land-Use Bylaw which needs to be opened up for discussion, the portions on density are it. 

Maybe we’d find out people are open to having the area around the village or another part of the island opened up for multi-family dwellings, to give our young and employable residents a place to stay while working in our local businesses. 

Or maybe we’d find out that densities aren’t the problem - and there’s another elephant hiding behind the one we’re all looking at. 

But making it an election issue - that’s the way it should be started. 

Those voted in can at least take their success as a mandate to proceed on the platforms they run on.