To the editor:
I am offended by the astonishing sense of entitlement Wendy Brichon expressed in her letter to the editor stating that "the developer is 'taking' private property owned by a private individual/entity."
Land is not private property the way an apple is because it was not produced by its "owner" or any previous owner, and its unimproved value is created by government and the community, not by any private producer. So under our common law system, the land "owner" only has a "fee simple title" issued by government, and subject to the community's interests through property taxation, eminent domain, police power, escheat, zoning, etc.
The unimproved value of the land (which in the case of the Waldorf is almost all the property's value), is a pure welfare subsidy to the owner at the expense of the community. It would be just the same if he were comatose, or had never existed, so he has indisputably not earned it. The community therefore has every right to assert its interests against those of the owner and developer.
While our current city council is totally subservient to developer interests, Tara Mahoney actually has the beginnings of the right idea: the value that the community creates in any land site rightly belongs to the community that creates it, not to a private owner or developer who doesn't. So it is landowners' sense of entitlement to pocket publicly created land value that is the real offense to reason and justice here.
Roy Langston, Vancouver