Skip to content

Letter: Cowichan on ‘naughty list’ for lack of housing supply

Dear CVRD Board of Directors:

Dear CVRD Board of Directors:

Vancouver’s Sun’s June 4, 2023 story squarely confronts the chronic housing crisis successive Cowichan politicians have largely ignored, procrastinated upon, or lacked the knowledge to address.

Developers have mainly built middle- to upper-class housing in Cowichan. That promoted sprawl, traffic congestion, sewage dilemmas, tree loss and an urgent water shortage — while our population climbed.

Our homelessness crisis provides some proof.

We have failed to inform developers where and what housing is needed for working folks and families, not just for retirees and well-heeled folks.

Local politicians now ask the provincial government for advice about solving our housing enigma, despite decades of talk and studies.

Result: a hodgepodge of housing with little planning forethought about green features and local amenities to help park vehicle trips.

Those studies also failed to probe limits to growth in Cowichan — a true elephant in our board rooms.

Thankfully North Cowichan’s new official community plan offers some smart-growth language.

Recent housing projects are simply playing catch-up to Cowichan’s crisis boiling for years.

According to the province, the time his now for naughty-list communities to work with developers and tackle our housing crisis with affordable units — using 30 per cent of one’s income as affordable — for rent and purchase.

If developers can’t or won’t co-operate, municipal governments must build and manage housing for locals.

To curb ugly sprawl like Langford’s, Cowichan must zone properties, use density models and smart-housing designs to lift ourselves off that naughty list.

If not, our leaders will stand in the corner while Victoria dictates our housing future.

Peter W. Rusland

North Cowichan