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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Build Nanaimo upward, not outward

There is a lot of land for infill development and gentle densification, says letter writer
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To the editor,

Re: City of Nanaimo urged to expand its boundaries, June 15.

I’m glad that the arguments on behalf of the Mid Island Business Initiative failed to gain much traction with city council and administrative staff. The interests of the business and development community are often not in harmony with the public as a whole.

All we need to do is survey the city’s landscape – massive tracts of habitat, and even farmland, bulldozed to produced residential single-detached, single-use subdivisions almost completely dependent on automobiles, and with most housing not even remotely affordable.

Expanding the boundaries of the city will not make housing more affordable, nor will simply building more housing. Developers in Vancouver argued that building more units would dampen demand and reduce prices. Guess what? It didn’t. Price isn’t simply about supply and demand; it’s about so much more. It’s about how much responsibility government is taking for affordability, about interest rates, about homebuyer confidence in the economy, about overseas speculation in the housing market, and more. As Coun. Tyler Brown and general manager of development services Dale Lindsay were quoted as saying in the article, there is a lot of land within the city’s current boundaries for infill development and gentle densification, and even denser developments as we are seeing in the area east of Wakesiah between Third and Fourth Streets. One of the reasons that developers often prefer greenfield sites for new development is they typically pay only a fraction of the infrastructure costs; in short, they are subsidized by the taxpayer.

Don Alexander, Nanaimo

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To the editor,

Re: City of Nanaimo urged to expand its boundaries, June 15.

It may be faster and easier to build in new expanded city boundaries, but it will also increase urban sprawl, putting more land under buildings and blacktop. It’s not all the environment. There is also the matter of those living in these boundary areas – they moved there for a reason and they may not want to be ‘absorbed’ by the City of Nanaimo. It would most likely increase their property taxes and change bylaws.

The City of Nanaimo is fairly large as it is right now. Do we really want to encourage urban-suburban sprawl?

Yes, we need more housing but there is a fair bit being built right now. One place to expand housing is some of the large malls which aren’t totally in use. Building family-friendly apartments would work well and if kept under 10 or so storeys, they wouldn’t be invasive. Oakridge Mall in Vancouver has gone from a quaint mall of the 1960s to a huge complex with a SkyTrain station and approximately 10 apartment towers. It’s much better use of land. Woodgrove Centre’s land base is massive. It could easily have a few apartment towers and not change the ambience of the area.

At this time I’m not in favour of the Mid Island Business Initiative’s suggestion.

E.A. Foster, Nanaimo

The views and opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the writer and do not reflect the views of Black Press or the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

Letters policy: Letters should be no longer than 250 words and will be edited. Preference is given to letters expressing an opinion on issues of local relevance or responding to items published in the News Bulletin. Include your address (it won’t be published) and a first name or two initials, and a surname. Unsigned letters will not be published.

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