Saanich residents have enjoyed a long tradition of civic engagement with their Council, playing a key role through their input to our community plans and priorities. We previously had enviable safeguards in place to protect our environments, to guide development and promote accessibility.
I think of this as “The Spirit of Saanich”: Regular people involved and engaged in how their communities take shape around them.
But we’ve seen over the last four years a move away from this.
Saanich Council has reversed its progressive leadership and relinquished their commitment to our community’s legacy of stewardship. Since I was elected in 2018, I’ve publicly fought against council’s regressive direction. The public interest must come before private benefit.
The majority of Council has embraced a “Development at All Cost” approach under the mantra we can build enough new supply to fix affordability.
Housing is a national crisis felt very locally and very personally. We are sacrificing our environment and our food security in the rush to build enough housing on the impossible dream of being able to out pace both demand and a workforce shortage.
Saanich’s Housing Strategy focuses so heavily on new-supply and essentially insincere with respect to demand.
It’s called Supply and Demand for a reason. But if we do not account for demand we may guarantee affordable housing as a permanent election issue. This is wrong.
The Housing Strategy does everything but account for demand, instead offering to “study/consider/explore/schedule updates/review/ensure expectations are outlined/study possible tax and financial regulation reforms/research/determine suitability/consider advocating” how to address demand factors like investors.
At the start of the pandemic, we called it “selfish and mean” when people hoarded the supply of hand sanitizer and toilet paper to sell at a profit. What do we call it when something so basic as shelter sees rents double and prices skyrocket?
We can do better. We have to be brave and resilient and stand up to the talking points and back-clapping by lobby groups.
- We need more housing, but not for investors.
- We need the right housing, but not for millionaires.
- And we need housing to go to the right people, not profit-seeking corporations.
Now is the time to pay attention, to engage and together get Saanich back on track to solving real-world problems with more than just claims of intent.
On October 15, vote Nathalie Chambers for Saanich Council and the CRD.
Join me in restoring “The Spirit of Saanich”.