Letter: More than just immigration behind housing crisis

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Re: Breakdown behind the housing crisis (Oak Bay News, Letters Nov. 8)

Bruce Filan states that he is presenting the facts behind the housing crisis. It’s too bad he used only the facts that supported his view and nothing else. I believe that a bigger factor than immigration is the fault of provincial governments in the ’70s and ’80s when they allowed conversion of apartment buildings into condominiums. Suddenly apartment buildings all over the region were converted into condos.

While at the time it may have helped renters become owners, the reality is that the practice was unchecked. The practice removed many condos from the rental market. To further aggravate the situation today, councils are allowing more and more high end condos to be built with little regard for low cost housing.

Here in Oak Bay we are told that high end units make more low cost units available, but that is unproven. Even where councils have allowed concessions that provide for low cost housing as a requirement of approval, the housing is often somewhere else and with the penalties for failing to fulfill that part of the deal so small that the developer doesn’t have much pressure to complete.

I think it’s mean spirited to assign all the blame to immigrants. At some point in time all of our families have been immigrants and in my lifetime, immigration of European refugees after WW II, Hungarian refugees and Vietnamese refugees have all proven to be a benefit to the country.

Ed and Barbara Walker

Oak Bay

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