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CRD Strategies Need Relevance, Accountability

The CRD’s recent regional growth and housing strategies are generated at great taxpayer expense yet lack transparency, relevance and accountability.

The Growth Strategy vision mentions the environment, climate change, etc but not housing affordability.

The document protects rural villages, discourages “future urban areas,” and promotes “slow to moderate growth.”

It could be easily renamed the anti-growth strategy. It puts severe restrictions on housing in very large sections of the CRD, which will boost the cost of land and new homes.

Housing demand should have been assessed before the Growth Strategy which is actually a zoning document supporting community plans which often obstruct development.

Also, the Housing Strategy suggests using “taxation to limit the negative impacts of investment in the housing market.”

That’s a very broad concept. Does this indicate support for a vacancy tax as exists in Vancouver?

It does suggest municipalities “champion the need for affordable and market housing developments.”

The champion of market housing affordability for the past 20 years has been Langford, yet there is no mention of Langford’s practices of affordable small-lot zoning or permit efficiency.

Despite the CRD’s past strategies, housing is more unaffordable than ever, mostly because there is little change in many local community plans.

Langford Mayor Stew Young recently said about a Regional Transportation Authority, another CRD strategy, “My taxpayers are fed up with the CRD costs. They’re fed up with new programs at the CRD and no accountability.”

There is a lack of relevance and accountability in the CRD’s activities, including the recent growth and housing strategies.

The region requires transparent, effective and enforceable strategies governed by an elected council answerable directly to voters.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist newspaper

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