Sometimes I like to bring you good news. Instead of focusing on the things that piss me off, I opt instead to showcase the creativity, selflessness and dedication to the community that make the capital great. But this isn’t one of those times.
The week began with a press release from the Victoria Police. Amidst near relentless controversy — the most recent reprimand going to Chief Jamie Graham for leaving a loaded service pistol under his car seat (Really? Someone should confiscate his Lethal Weapon DVD boxset) — the force has received no less than 13 awards. What for, you ask? Seven awards were for 20-years service, and the remaining six were for 30-years service.
Now, I don’t want to harp on the boys in blue too much, but it strikes me as odd that with all the things we can’t seem to do — control our officers’ tempers, maintain a cordial relationship with Esquimalt Council, keep track of our riot gear — the only thing we’re good at is keeping the same officers around for decades at a stretch.
Later in the week, the City of Victoria released its Annual Housing Report. The good news? I couldn’t find much. The bad news is that for the average resident — that’s you, me and anyone else who makes less than $120,000/year — owning a home in the City of Gardens isn’t an option. In fact, with the average income in the city hovering around $38,000 and the average house priced at $611,312, the most economical option for those of us with dreams of white picket fences is to start buying lottery tickets.
With almost no new rental units and an average rent increase of 1.5 per cent, things aren’t even looking up for those of us who have accepted the impossibility of home ownership. A vacancy rate of 1.8 per cent also means rents won’t be coming down anytime soon. Adding insult to injury, the city is currently expecting a property tax increase of 20 per cent over the next five years — a cost which will inevitably pass from landlord to tenant.
Sure, sometimes I try to bring you good news, but some weeks I just can’t help but stare at the uglier side. M