Comox Valley voters have a terrible record of turning out to vote in municipal elections, yet who we elect to our local governments has a more direct and impactful effect on our daily lives. Let’s turn that around this year
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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Courtenay’s year-over-year tax increases compare favorably with surrounding municipalities. So what’s all the fuss about? Maybe the answer lies in the city’s transparency — or lack of it
If Cumberland voters approve up to $4.4 million in borrowing to bring the village’s treatment plant up to provincial standards, it will help to acquire grants and free up funds for a new fire hall
16 candidates for six Courtenay City Council seats answered questions from the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce last night in front of a full house at the Sid Williams Theatre. Taxes and amalgamation were the hot topics
It’s just three days before the majority of voters will choose Comox Valley mayors, councils and school trustees, and the silly season is in full swing. Here’s what’s going on …
Most new candidates for six town of Comox council seats would do more to require that developments include an affordable housing component, while sitting council members say affordability is being addressed with a 90-unit building on Anderton
Saturday’s Royston meeting had over 50 citizens in attendance, giving up part of their sunny afternoon to listen to and question both candidates. There was a twist to this all candidates affair, the moderator was ill, and there was no one willing to take his place, so both candidates were running the show, alternating recognizing questions from the floor.
There’s a youth movement in Comox Valley politics and Decafnation supports it. Former council members have had their chance. It’s those who must live with the impact of decisions tomorrow who should have the opportunity to make them today
Decafnation will offer its recommendations for mayors, council members and regional district rural directors tomorrow, on the first day of advance voting in the 2018 municipal elections. But persuasion is not the objective
With a background in both corporate retail and the nonprofit sector, Patrick McKenna believes he would bring a unique perspective to his first term on the Comox Town Council. He’s focused on affordable housing, the arts and community safety