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Protect Housing in Urban Containment Areas

There is an ongoing erosion of housing in areas specifically designated for housing and development.

These areas are identified in community plans as Urban Containment Boundaries (UCB).

The purpose of a UCB is to identify regions suitable for housing development and higher density encouraging diversity, affordability, efficient transit and infrastructure.

By identifying a UCB, the community preserves outlying rural green space, agriculture and environmentally sensitive areas.

However, incursions into the UCB are being made by policies obstructing development, density, and affordable housing.

An example is Saanich’s Environmental Development Permit Area (EDPA) where new housing and renovations in the UCB are being denied and/or discouraged to allegedly protect sensitive ecosystems.

Except many of the areas are the well-used lawns and gardens of homes built decades ago.

This discourages properties in the UCB being revitalized and redeveloped into more affordable housing.

The result is less development, density, affordability and efficient transportation in the UCB.

The EDPA policy is unfair to home owners and undermines the purpose of the UCB, which includes protecting the rural environment.

Ironically, this policy will add more development pressure on green space outside the UCB.

Saanich’s EDPA policy is counter-productive and a classic case of be careful what you wish for…

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This column appears in Wednesday’s Times Colonist.

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