Wait and see on real estate investment

It is not always the housing market but rather the commercial side of real estate they invest in.

To the Editor,

Re: Hotel game changer for city’s real estate, Oct. 10.

Let’s be a bit more realistic and say that maybe in five years we might see our first groups of tourists come to the new 21-storey hotel. Before that, the building has to be built and the Chinese/Asian tourism market will have to be developed as well.

Building a tourism market takes years as it all about building relationships first. And it depends on air services. We have seen some sectors of the tourism industry lose big time the last few years when Air Canada and other airlines dropped services to Asian cities.

Whether it leads to higher-priced real estate, a realtor’s dream, is to be seen. It is true that Asian visitors will find Nanaimo a very attractive place to invest. Be aware, though, that if they do, it is not always the housing market but rather the commercial side of real estate they invest in.

I shudder to think what would would happen to Nanaimo if we have the same influx of people like Vancouver after Expo ’86. Do people forget that for years after Vancouver was unliveable and now it is unaffordable. The only people benefiting from that scenario are the realtors. People who have made the Nanaimo region a retirement area will have to think twice about voting for people who want the housing market to skyrocket. Higher prices mean higher taxes, something that retirees on fixed income don’t like.

After Expo, people had to look outside of Vancouver to live and it has created a transportation debacle. Vancouverites and their neighbours in the Lower Mainland have been driving through a constant construction zone on Highway 1 for 10 years. If they are lucky, their grandchildren will be the first to drive the Lower Mainland without a construction zone, although not without traffic jams.

Now for the positive note. A new hotel, that’s fantastic and more tourists is even better. Let’s create a positive atmosphere for these possible new visitors. After all, we want the economic benefits of tourism dollars spent in the community. However, we don’t want people coming and changing our infrastructure and lifestyle in a way that negatively impacts the community.

L. Boonvia e-mail