LETTER: Pre-zoning opens the door to profit for developers

The mayor of Saanich has been promoting the concept of pre-zoning, in the press and on his website. Pre-zoning 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 and the environment, which will be heavily affected.

Unfortunately, the public at large is barely aware of pre-zoning and what it entails and just how much it will affect both them and their communities. What little awareness there is about pre-zoning, tends to be marketed through extensive PR and misleading names, such as ‘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 pre-zoning 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 metre 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 missing middle housing pans out, before recklessly following suit, just because Victoria is doing it?

After all, 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.

Sasha Izard


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