Re: "Housing task force prescribes 'fundamental changes," Sept. 28.
Affordable housing has been a civic issue as long as I've lived in Vancouver. In moving to Vancouver in 1978, we paid 50 per cent more for a fixer-upper in Vancouver than we sold our fixed up house, with a larger lot, in Ottawa.
I remember the cost of housing being discussed in boardrooms and at public forums. If the city really wants to make a dent in the market housing pricing impasse then do something. Stop tinkering about the edges with ineffective, ad nauseam zoning changes. You've already increased the density of single residential neighbourhoods threefold by permitting laneway housing and legalizing suites. But to no avail.
The only laneway housing and suite development comes when developers knock down existing housing and put a maximum-size house, with a suite and then add a laneway house on a 33-foot lot. The rent they would have to charge are going to be market based. And that, according to your non-definition of affordable, does not seem to be affordable.
Why would I want to knock down a livable house, destroy a backyard with an apple tree, raspberry bushes, grape vines, raised garden and flower beds and shrubs to over-build?
The green space at this house has nurtured three boys and three dogs in an affordable manner. How can you green a city by building over its existing green space? The ideas in the latest affordable housing strategy attack the city's green space and livability. We've been encouraged to turn our boulevards into gardening and vegetable plots. Now you want to put that under housing on "under-used" side streets.
Building more efficient buildings is laudable, but building over our precious green spaces is not. If you really want to do something, get into the market as a real player. Build, own and operate rental units. Establish affordable rent controls. Enforce them. Compete with the market place, don't lay our neighbourhoods open to unwanted development that will continue unaffordable housing prices.
Stephen Rybak, Vancouver