Groups not anti-business
I found Ian Morrison’s and Klaus Kuhn’s “enemy within” diatribes extremely interesting. They frame those community members who are concerned about our living conditions as being “anti-business”.
They are wrong. The list of Valley small business owners who support a more moderate approach to development would be very long indeed.
I myself am the daughter of a property developer and my brother owns a realty company. My daughter is a project manager for construction projects in Vancouver. I don’t know of any environmentalists, aka “enemies within”, who have expressed political opposition to all development or to local business, so why are we framed as such? If I may speak for them, we are looking for a more moderate approach than what we have been seeing hitherto.
And what we have been seeing, in the past 10 to 15 years, is the advance of suburban sprawl: the endless march of repetitive single detached houses on treeless plots of lawn. In their defense, these developments have allowed many to realize a dream. But now, in 2020, we are confronting the consequences of this reckless lack of restraint and planning: congested roadways, water shortages, lack of affordable housing and higher taxes.
Yes, higher taxes! The mythology has been that more development means a broader tax base and therefore lower taxes. Surprise, surprise! More development means inadequate infrastructure, more city staff, more police and fire personnel, more garbage trucks and snowplows, etc. That all costs plenty and we all now have to pay for it. Are higher taxes pro-business?
The North Cowichan councillor who wanted to take a temporary pause was asking for a chance to figure out how to do both: how to have adequate roadways, infrastructure and water and still promote the development of livable neighbourhoods. What business owner doesn’t want that? Would their business be enhanced by choked roads, rationed water and inadequate sewage? Years from now, we would be wondering why we were in such a hurry to build that we declined to do the necessary planning.
The Cowichan Valley is a uniquely spectacular part of the world. May I assume that we all love living here? I urge all to try to work together and respectfully converse together to keep what we love, rather than name-calling and forcing divisions among us. Doing such may feel powerful at the moment, but it undermines us all. And it undermines the Valley that we cherish.