Letters to the editor.

LETTER – A moratorium on high-density builds could do more harm than good for the doctor shortage in the Comox Valley

Dear editor,

Re: Valley doctor suggests moratorium on high-density builds in Comox (April 27 Record)

Dr. Reggler’s request to Comox council for a moratorium on new high density housing in Comox drives home the critical shortage of family doctors in the Comox Valley. I greatly appreciate his advocacy in finding more ways to address this very serious problem.

My concern is that building less housing, and specifically less high density housing, may slow the worsening family doctor shortage while permanently increasing the housing shortage and urban sprawl problem.

The doctor shortage is province-wide, the housing shortage is nationwide and the climate crisis is planet wide. There is no easy fix or sending folks to the next town. We must tackle all three of these challenges concurrently right here, right now.

The population of B.C. is increasing and people need homes. Green spaces and ecosystems are being destroyed under expanding development. Coping with the climate crises will require nature-based solutions such as cooling forests and rain-absorbing green spaces. The 1950s model of single-family homes increases our demand on road and car infrastructure, increases GHGs and locates families further from the services they need such as schools, recreation facilities, shops and services. This should no longer be considered our default development model.

Add to this the current absurd house prices. A newly constructed single family home in Comox will cost up to $1 million or more. Smaller, higher density housing, while still very expensive in today’s market, will provide more units at more affordable prices while consuming less land and materials per unit.

For young single people starting out and older folks downsizing the advantage of smaller, denser housing is obvious.

Now let’s consider children and families. According to Christopher Cheung’s recent article in the Tyee: “One analysis by local company MountainMath dials in on Vancouver neighbourhoods, noting that pockets of detached houses across the city are losing children. In contrast, densifying centres like UBC, downtown, Olympic Village and River District are gaining them.

Burnaby’s portrait is the same: the city’s densifying town centers of Metrotown, Brentwood, Lougheed and Edmonds are gaining kids while its swathes of single-family suburbia are losing them.”

I am most concerned with Mayor Arnott’s statement, “Density is the way… density is what (the community) wants. Am I in favour of it? No.” (Emphasis mine).

Mayor Arnott, as you stated, the community wants density and the benefits it brings. My question is, why are you not in favour of the more socially equitable, climate friendly high density housing?

Dianna Talbot,

Comox

Comox ValleyLetter to the Editor

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