Letters to the Editor

City of Courtenay discriminated, claims family

Dear editor,

We are replying to Scott Stanfield's article "Courtenay residents with illegal suites 'thumbing their noses."

It would seem the council has taken a renewed interest in legal affordable housing, yet just recently shunned our effort to comply with the City's rules.

We are the family who were trying to make the "Thorpe" house in question a place for an affordable housing option for ourselves and our parents.

We had hoped to return as a family when we are posted back to the Comox Valley and were trying to bring the house to compliance with the legal condition we thought it was in when we bought it.

It seems ironic that the City is upset that illegal suites exist, yet we are the people who "tried to do this properly" and met staunch opposition from Mayor Jangula himself.

We tried to articulate the benefits to the City and the neighbours, which they later used against us to paint some tainted picture that we were simply doing it for selfish capitalism.

We are very familiar with the City of Courtenay's affordable housing initiative. We are very disappointed the current article seems to highlight the renewed issue of affordable housing which the City seems to sporadically reject based on affluent community opposition.

They seemed to have little or no concern for the working populations who are too busy trying to make a living, rather than apply their resources to support the council members' campaigns.

Our rezoning last fall was rejected by the City of Courtenay due to 'safety' and other concerns, as mentioned by the lawyer hired by the neighbours, as well as the councillors.

The issue with our rezoning was that by adding the in-law suite it would encourage renters, who only brought trouble, and that renters would somehow be compromising the the safety of the existing residents.

The councillors suggested that adding an in-law suite (which had existed for 10 years) would be unfair to those established residents who were affluent enough to be able to buy into a community plan, which reinforced their discriminatory beliefs. This was in addition to the normal NIMBYisms about increase noise and traffic, etc.

The council supported that any family such as our own looking to use a legal suite to house extended family, or as a income helper, should not be allowed to reside in already established "safe" neighbourhoods because we could not to do so without the in-law suite. Basically, we were not rich enough to live in that neighbourhood.

We feel the decision to vote against the legal in-law suite was a violation of the basic human right to access affordable housing. We feel our family has been discriminated against in that we can no longer reside in that home as a complete family upon our return to the Comox Valley.

We do not currently reside in the Comox Valley due to a military relocation. However, we do own properties in the Comox Valley, including the one in question in Courtenay.

We take great pride in attempting to offer affordable housing to the hard-working members of the community. We believe everyone has the right to affordable housing in good, safe neighbourhoods, close to schools and other amenities.

Lisa and Daniel Klco


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