No, the sky is not falling on the Comox Valley nor are people being attacked by birds / George Le Masurier photo (undoctored, only tonal adjustments)
The Week: housing issues, sure, but this study is nonsense
So yet another ill-constructed study has maligned the poor Comox Valley. We can now add “Fifth Most Unaffordable Housing Market” to our designations as “Highest Crime Rate” and “Worst Air Quality.” Well, maybe there’s some truth to that last one.
The latest study — concocted by Wendell Cox on his website Demographia.com — compared median house prices to median household income in nine countries, and then ranked cities or regions for their housing affordability. The Comox Valley ranked fifth worst in B.C.
There’s no doubt the Comox Valley has a housing affordability problem. Prices have never been higher. Rental vacancy rates have almost never been lower. It’s a problem that affects almost every community on the BC coast.
But as Courtenay Councillor Melanie McCollum has pointed out, the study is flawed.
“There is no doubt we have serious affordability issues in our community – however that study is seriously flawed and written by a pro-greenfield expansion/urban sprawl think tank that uses some questionable methods for its data analysis,” McCollum wrote on social media.
Real Estate Wire has called the study “nonsense” for five important reasons, which you can read about here. Though we should mention that Mr. Cox is an urban planner who promotes private automobiles over public transportation.
But the Comox Valley’s housing issues are real. Prices are high and partly driven by out-of-town buyers from even more expensive markets. There’s little incentive for investors to build apartment buildings, but when they do local governments rarely use tools to require a percentage of the units to rent at below-market rates.
Courtenay has two affordable housing projects on the go. The Braidwood Housing Project (35 units) and a supportive housing project (46 units).
¶ Election polls aren’t any more reliable than flawed housing studies.
BC pollsters predicted a Liberal Party win in the Nanaimo provincial byelection, estimated that Liberal Tony Harris had an eight-point lead over NDP candidate, Sheila Malcolmson. The NDP won by a 10-point margin.
It appears not every NDPer is willing to throw Premier John Horgan to the wolves over the Site C Dam project.
¶ Who was it that said there was no danger from sewage pipes and pump lift stations near or in our foreshores? No one in Sechelt would believe them after a pump station failed and 10,000 litres of raw sewage dumped into the Salish Sea.
Fortunately, the Comox Valley Regional District is in the process of taking a long look at the best options for delivering and treating sewage. That could, and should, include moving sewage pipes out of the K’omoks Estuary and taking an overland route to the Brent Road treatment plant.
¶ Congratulations to the Comox Valley Regional District parks department for widening trails and improving access to Nymph Falls. We’re sure this isn’t a direct response to 3L Developments’ attempts to block public access to Stotan Falls, but it couldn’t come at a better time for those wanting a river swim this summer.
¶ Finally, a recent budget decision by the Comox-Strathcona Regional Hospital Board might shed some light on why there were serious design flaws in the new Comox Valley and Campbell River hospitals. Board Chair Charlie Cornfield says the board plans to spend $100,000 on decorative water fountains.
If the hospitals really need some visual improvements, how about commissioning some of the north Island’s excellent sculptors for eye-catching entry features?
Better yet, forget the idea altogether — although we do support public art — because there are bigger problems at the hospitals, which the hospital board has done its best to deny and ignore.
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The Canadian Museum of Nature has given Father Charles Brandt their 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Oyster River hermit was nominated by the Comox Valley Land Trust.
Nearly seven months after the BC lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Comox Valley Economic Task Force has yet to form any plans to help local businesses and the region’s destination marketing office has been “repurposed”
3L Developments Ltd. has returned to the Comox Valley Regional District to ask the Electoral Services Committee to push an RGS amendment on its behalf to the full board. That would clear the way for a new version of Riverwood
The Courtenay-Comox Sewage Commission has taken the first step toward a Comox Valley-wide sewerage system by agreeing to receive and treat wastewater from the fast-growing Royston and Union Bay portions of Electoral Area A.
Delayed by this spring’s COVID-19 virus lockdown, public consultation on the region’s new Liquid Waste Management Plan will begin later this summer
Union Bay Improvement District opens a new water treatment plant, hopes to eliminate future boil-water advisories
A 156-bed Dementia Village for the Comox Valley took another step forward May 25 as Island Health announced a project development agreement with Providence Living for the project.
North Island medical professionals will explain how VIHA’s removal of onsite clinical pathologists’ services in Campbell River — and eventually the Comox Valley? — has affected patient care
Racecar testing will continue at Smit Field next to Nymph Falls Nature Park, at least for another season, after Comox Valley rural directors voted 2-1 in favour of a scaled-down temporary use permit
As the Vancouver Island Health Authority reduces health care services to north islanders and deflects accountability, the public looks to the Comox Strathcona Regional Hospital District board for advocacy