What affordable housing should look like

The housing that the GVHS builds for the community today will only become more affordable as each new building’s mortgage is paid off.

Almost four months ago, Victoria councillors were grumbling about the Greater Victoria Housing Society’s most recent affordable housing proposal. Coun. Madoff prophesied a torrent of community backlash, while Coun. Gudgeon called the recent influx of affordable housing into the Burnside-Gorge area a “detriment to the neighbourhood.”

The non-profit project will provide 68 units of rental housing along with five townhouses, which will be sold to offset construction costs. Units will be rented to low- and middle-income households who earn less than $65,000 per year.

In the end, neither general outrage nor fear of neighbourhood degradation brought residents down to city hall on Thursday. In fact, only one person even felt the need to attend the public hearing, and then only to voice his support. GVHS executive director Kaye Melliship says the uneventful evening was a relief. “From our point of view that means we were extremely successful; that means we’ve dealt with all the potential issues within the community.”

In retrospect, it’s clear why no one felt the need to stand in the way of the GVHS. Unlike for-profit developments that line the pockets of developers with the money of wealthy snowbirds, or publicly funded affordable housing like the city’s Queens Manor development, which cost taxpayers several million dollars, the 68 units in this development will cost the city a total of $680,000. (As this paper hits the streets, the CRD board will decide whether or not to contribute an additional $816,000.)

Despite its initial reticence, council unanimously approved the project at its public hearing, prompting Russ Godfrey of the Tenant Resource Advisory Centre to praise the city for its support of this unconventional development.

“All I can say is I wish other municipalities would follow suit,” he said.

This is what affordable housing should look like. While the passage of time sees for-profit developments decrease in quality while steadily rising in price to match inflated market rates, the housing that the GVHS builds for the community today will only become more affordable as each new building’s mortgage is paid off, and profit will always find its way back to the community. The GVHS is not some cash-hungry developer or benevolent stateside bureaucracy, it’s an integral part of our community, and all of us should be thankful for such uneventful hearings. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

This image released by SYFY shows Meredith Garretson, left, and Alan Tudyk in the new series "Resident Alien." (James Dittinger/SYFY via AP)
B.C.-shot ‘Resident Alien’ invader gets lift-off with viewers

New Syfy series catching on, proving TV doesn’t have to come from premium cable

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Cowichan Valley author Teresa Schapansky’s books for young readers have become a phenomenon on Amazon. (Submitted)
Cowichan author tops Amazon charts

Award-winning author Teresa Schapansky learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom

Nadia Rieger restocks some of the art supplies at the Crows Nest Artist Collective. Their move to stocking more art supplies over the course of the pandemic was a response to increased demand, which she thinks shows people have been turning to creating art to cope with mental health struggles due to lockdowns and restrictions on other activities. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Vancouver Islanders using art to conquer COVID blues

It seems people have been turning to their creative sides to stay mentally and emotionally healthy

Chris Bullock, Parksville artist, stands next to his ‘Mermother’ series, on display at the McMillan Arts Centre until Feb. 29. Bullock himself will be at the MAC from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the month. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Chris Bullock’s unique illustrations on display

‘I’m heavily influenced by old comic book styles from the 1950s’

VIU music instructors Hans Verhoeven, Ben Henriques and Ken Lister (from left) are presenting a weekly jazz performance series with pianist James Darling (not pictured). (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
VIU music instructors presenting online jazz concert series

Musicians getting ‘back in shape’ performing American Songbook standards

Nanaimo’s Todd Cameron won the $1,000 Fan Favourite prize in Vancouver radio station CFOX 99.3 FM’s one-minute movie contest for his version of ‘The Big Lebowski.’ (Photo courtesy Todd Cameron)
Nanaimo man’s 60-second stop-motion ‘Big Lebowski’ remake wins fans’ choice award

Todd Cameron takes home $1,000 prize in Vancouver radio station contest

Kathryn Calder, City of Victoria’s artist in residence, is facilitating a performance and songwriting workshop for youth. (YouTube)
Online music workshops available for Greater Victoria young artists

Artist in Residence Kathryn Calder to host songwriting, performance series

Most Read