EDITORIAL: Densification has its problems

Chhosing a rural life within city boundaries should not be punished.

It’s called progress.

Last summer, Nanaimo revamped its entire zoning bylaw to increase densification within the urban containment boundary. Theoretically, this densification is supposed to allow for more efficient services like water, sewer and public transit while generating increased tax revenues for the city.

Theoretically. In reality, this densification, which in Nanaimo includes infilling by allowing dwellings on significantly smaller lots and, sadly, paving over historic farms in the city’s south end, may generate short-term revenue, but in the long term it increases the tax burden for all property owners. Down the road, millions will need to be spent to service these new neighbourhoods.

Infilling on its own is a wise approach, but allowing urban sprawl to continue at the same time is unnecessary.

At the corner of Park and Ninth streets, a development application to slam 43 housing units into a five-acre parcel of former farmland may keep out-of-town developers content lining their pockets, but it has devastating financial and social affects on Nanaimo residents who have chosen to live there for its rural attributes.

With approaching urban sprawl, these residents face higher assessments and increased traffic.

Moving outside the urban containment boundary would defeat the purpose of the new zoning bylaw.

Consideration needs to be made for people who are swallowed up by sprawl – choosing a rural life in the city boundaries should not result in punishment. It should, in fact, be rewarded.

If it’s going to be called progress, it should at least be progressive.