The recent unanimous decision to allow a single-family home on Richmond Road to be replaced with nine townhomes leaves the tinny sound of ditto echoing through the halls of Saanich municipal hall.
The timing seems to neatly coincide with Premier David Eby’s edicts pushing through mandatory rental for townhouses and condos, which allows them to be snapped up by investors and investment companies. It also coincides with his announcement of mandatory housing targets for the fastest-growing municipalities, and with Victoria council’s latest push to ram through missing middle housing on a barely recovering public.
Eby’s quick push in this direction was rather bold, given that he was neither elected to become the leader of his own party, let alone to be head of the province, but at the same time rather content to be appointed, and in turn to appoint policy; leaving us once again puzzled as to where democratic fits into the party name.
In Doug Ford’s Ontario, numerous blows have been made against democracy. The opening up of the previously protected greenbelt for mass development coincides with the creation of the so-called Strong Mayor’s Law, weakening local democracy and forcing even more density to be rammed into Toronto, because the one thing Toronto really needs is more density.
The developer/investment-driven agenda of increasing density only feeds speculation, making developers and those who invest in these projects wealthy, while resulting in less affordability.
With multiple levels of government catering through force to the interests of development and investment – over that of the actual people – does anyone still believe we live in a democracy?
Is this the brave new model we are all supposed to be content with? A culture of cramped expensive rentals for private companies, in a dense grid low on remaining space for nature?
As the melting iceberg approaches, is there anyone actually at the wheel?