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The More Victoria Changes, the More It Stays the Same...

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#241 todd

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 11:41 AM

Successful criminals wear suits.



Edited by todd, 19 July 2019 - 11:49 AM.

#242 Nparker

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 12:09 PM

OK, now I'm triggered.

#243 todd

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Posted 19 July 2019 - 12:50 PM

OK, now I'm triggered.

bring me the golden burger

#244 aastra

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 04:30 PM

Those security guards at the downtown Save-on Foods will soon be unnecessary:


Police chief: Tide turning' on core woes
28 Apr 1994

Victoria police are well on their way to removing the need for private muscle to keep downtown shoppers and storekeepers safe, Police Chief Doug Richardson said Wednesday.

Richardson said enforcement on Yates Street, where merchants have hired private security guards, has been stepped up and police will soon be using a mobile police headquarters to improve response time of officers downtown. "I believe we are turning the tide on this," said Richardson.

He was responding to a Times-Colonist story that private security is being hired even though Victoria has more police per capita than any city in the province and spends almost the most per capita on police.

The story prompted more calls for "value-for-cash" in Victoria police operations from Coun. Bob Friedland.

"Somebody has got to take an independent, cold, hard, cynical look at how they are spending their money," said Friedland...

But Richardson said the police department is already regularly audited by the B.C. Police Commission.

And Richardson said the department must go before the police board and council to justify its budget. "It's a very arduous and comprehensive process,"





Victoria eyes early closing for bars
23 Feb 1994

Closing cabarets earlier and at staggered times might help police cope with the flood of people who pour on to city streets in the early hours, says Victoria's mayor. "Instead of worrying about increased costs of dealing with the problem, let's go to the source of the problem and let's see if we can do anything about that," Mayor Bob Cross said...

The city has long been concerned about problems created when bars close and people pour on to downtown streets. Police say their resources are stretched to the limit. "This has been discussed before and we have never been able to reach a good consensus on it."

Cross will ask the city's liquor licensing committee and staff to look into the matter and make recommendations prior to contacting nightclub operators. The number of licensed seats should likely be examined as well...

Victoria Police Chief Doug Richardson hammered home his point at the budget meeting with council, after working downtown at night recently. "It was almost fire-hose policing from one call to another." He witnessed "violence and destruction. It was just amazing."



Victoria Police were not happy with extended hours proposed for new Hudson Taphouse
Victoria News
February 5, 2019


The Victoria Police Department analyzed the proposal and wrote in dissent of the extended hours.

"We do not support the hours of liquor service as indicated on the application,” said Sgt. Cliff Watson in a letter to the City. “The late hours proposed would almost certainly trigger noise complains – either as a direct result of the hours of operation, or by the spillover effect and/or egress of patrons after hours."

Councillors debated back and forth on the extended hours.

"I don’t support it, I think it’s too big," said Coun. Ben Isitt. "Where we see problems with liquor consumption and social disorder and policing resources is at the bigger establishments... it’s too big for my liking."

Coun. Geoff Young motioned for the hours to be further restricted to run until 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. weekends, which was seconded by Coun. Charlayne Thornton Joe and supported by Isitt.

However, the rest of council did not agree.

"We finally have a town where there’s things to do at night, we don’t all just close up at 10 and go home," said Mayor Lisa Helps. "Ten is completely unreasonable."


Summary: in 2019 we finally have something that we already had back in 1994, at which time it was already a longstanding concern.


(Mayor Helps was obviously correct that a 10pm closing was unreasonable to the extreme, but as per the theme of this thread I'm merely observing yet again how issues get played out through endless encore performances. Suggestion: Victoria has been wrestling with the administration of its busy downtown since before the 1890s, so maybe it's finally time to start coming to terms with it? Crossing our fingers and hoping the downtown core will go away hasn't really worked, is my point.)

Edited by aastra, 10 September 2019 - 06:08 PM.

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#245 aastra

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 05:23 PM

How many old ads for luxury condominiums do we need to see in this thread before we start to question the continuing hysteria re: the menace of luxury condominiums?


I just hope the people who bought units in this building eventually wised up to the dangers of the cruise ships. Cruise ships cause stress, hypertension, strokes, and year-over-year losses in property values. (Or at least they did, for a brief time back in 2011.)



Daily Colonist
December 7, 1974

Your New Home is Waiting For You!
View the luxury condominium residence that could change your outlook on life.

SHOREWOOD HOUSE — 562 Rithet Street. Victoria's newest address for active adult living.

$42,000 to $51,500

Twenty Luxury Condominium Residences

Victoria's SHOREWOOD HOUSE — where the beauty of the near-by parks and waterfront is at your command. Stroll to Beacon Hill Park where there is so much to experience. Walk along Dallas Road and scan the majestic Olympic Peninsula or watch the birds in Victoria's famous duck pond. Inspect the many luxury cruise ships that dock at Ogden Point every summer. Enjoy afternoon tea at the Empress or a visit to the Provincial Museum — less than a mile away. A new major community shopping centre is just two blocks away. Planning to travel? Your mind will be worry-free when you lock up your home knowing of SHOREWOOD HOUSE post-vacation chores are all but non-existant. Yes, a new way of life awaits you at SHOREWOOD HOUSE where the blend of natural beauty and everyday convenience is exceptional. Join us soon.





In the 1970s these were luxury condo buildings worth boasting about, but in the intervening ~45 years they mysteriously transformed into apartments for ordinary people.






A similar thing happened to this luxurious 1910s apartment building. It's almost as if new buildings don't stay new. It's almost as if you need to keep on building because you can't stop the hands of time. Anyway, I digress.



Blanshard Plan Will Close Era
Stompin' At the Savoy Was High-Living in Victoria 60 Years Ago
May 29, 1973
Daily Colonist

Savoy Mansions at Blanshard and McClure, the ultimate in fashionable apartment living 60 years ago, will be demolished some time next month.

The property... has been purchased by the City of Victoria...

The building... will be torn down to make room for the realignment of Blanshard...

...Blanshard will be brought in line with Belleville. Eventually the city hopes to reroute traffic from the legislative precinct via the Belleville-Blanshard route from downtown to the city's outskirts.

Completion of this route is considered essential to the creation of downtown pedestrian malls.

Savoy Mansions were built during the Victoria landboom between 1908 and 1913... the apartment building was considered "quite the modern thing" in those days.

"Over the years, many well-to-do Victorians lived in the Savoy Mansions,"

...it was a pity the building has to give way to traffic efficiency.

"In the past few years, mostly elderly people have lived there. They just loved to be near downtown, near the Inner Harbor, near the movie theatres and transportation facilities..."

Edited by aastra, 16 October 2019 - 10:28 AM.

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#246 aastra

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 06:06 PM

Obviously I'm making fun of silly people who think they're somehow doing future generations a favour by being eternally opposed to new residential construction. But I want to add another layer to this: note how all of those buildings promoted their convenient locations. If those Victoria and Oak Bay neighbourhoods were convenient and practical back when Victoria's population was a fraction of what it is today (in the 1970s, or even way back in the 1910s), then how much more convenient and practical are those same neighbourhoods in 2019? How convenient and practical will those same neighbourhoods be in the year 2049?

#247 G-Man


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Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:23 AM

Great finds there Aastra! It is amazing that these arguments are so old. Of course new condos for the rich become regular condos that are rented out. I understand why the fear mongers use it but why do people listen?

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#248 lanforod

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 06:54 PM

Great finds there Aastra! It is amazing that these arguments are so old. Of course new condos for the rich become regular condos that are rented out. I understand why the fear mongers use it but why do people listen?


I, for one, am looking forward to when I can get a place at the Customs house in 30 years for dirt cheap...


It does apply in many cases, but certainly not all.

#249 G-Man


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Posted 12 September 2019 - 05:43 AM

Well no of course not. But when we here that luxury condos are going up away from the water in just a regular neighborhood we can assume it will follow the normal pattern.

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#250 aastra

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 10:00 AM

Maybe every generation prior to today was simply misinformed about what constituted truly timeless luxury? Maybe we've finally nailed it down, and the Customs House will be the very first example? Immune to deterioration and maintenance issues, fads and fashions, lifestyle and demographic changes, etc.


FYI: way back in the Customs House thread we were speculating re: "what about when something more exclusive gets built in front of it?"


In other words, we were already contemplating its inevitable fall from grace even as the very first hard hats were arriving on site, and even though such a concern would seem to be less relevant for this property than for almost any other.


in 2019 it's common knowledge that a luxurious downtown condo like the Customs House is going to be a sure-fire slam dunk until the end of time, that it will never be anything but the cream of the crop, that it will never command anything but top dollar. But back in 2008-09 many commentators were certain that the effort to re-invent downtown Victoria with a more residential focus had already fizzled. Even today (literally today) we have people on this very board still questioning why anyone would pay for a downtown apartment when there are houses in the suburbs.

#251 G-Man


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Posted 12 September 2019 - 11:30 AM

It makes me think of the apartment buildings along the harbour in Esquimalt. I am sure they were denigrated for being just for the ultra rich and now they must be some of the most affordable waterfront in the city.
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#252 aastra

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Posted 20 September 2019 - 10:27 AM

Just repeating this here from the managing density thread:


TC Comment: We need greater density to deal with housing shortage:



...the concerns of residents who are already in a comfortable position of homeownership should not trump those of residents who are struggling to survive in a city that is becoming increasingly inhospitable to the renting population.

If you are a homeowner in Victoria and have been for several years, take a moment to think about what it would be like if you moved to Victoria now. With housing prices entirely unaffordable for new graduates and an almost zero per cent vacancy rate for rental units, there is a dire need for change.


For almost 60 years we've been saying this. We'll be saying it 60 years from now, I'm sure. Every day is the first day all over again.


Seriously, these are the headlines almost exactly 50 years apart:



Daily Colonist
September 14, 1969

"Squeeze Is On: High Density Inevitable"



September 20, 2019

"We need greater density to deal with housing shortage"

Edited by aastra, 11 June 2020 - 03:19 PM.

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#253 aastra

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Posted 01 October 2019 - 11:09 AM

New condo units don't help ease the housing crisis. Or do they?



Condo boom opens rental market
March 3, 1994

A surge in condominium construction has opened up the rental market, giving Victoria tenants the best deal they've had in years...

"We're in the softest period I've experienced in several years," said Rob Hunter, president of Devon Properties...

Vacancies among the several thousand units Devon manages are around 2 per cent, double the rate of a year ago.

Hunter said the softer rental market is due to the increase in wood-frame condominium projects. With low mortgage rates, many people are able to qualify for 95-per-cent financing to buy a unit.

One sign of the higher vacancy rate was the 10 columns of classified ads for apartments and condos for rent in the Times- Colonist Wednesday, and four more columns of townhouses, duplexes and houses.

The larger number of vacancies means rents have flattened out, and even dropped in a few cases.

The renter's market also extends to houses. Jeff Sawchuk of Adler Properties Ltd., which manages apartments and single-family homes, said house rents are in a holding pattern.

"We're advising our clients not to raise rents, for the second year in a row," he said.

However, he said existing tenants find it hard to buy a house or condo. Fewer than 10 per cent are able to swing a down payment and monthly mortgage payments given Victoria's high prices, he said.

Sales of units in new buildings are still "quite high," King said, but "what we're seeing is the potential for oversupply of mainly four-storey wood-frame buildings along main arterials."




Mixing rentals with condos would be unusual and innovative:



Developer offers 33 rentals in downtown housing plan
May 31, 1995

An unusual downtown housing project featuring one building dedicated to rental housing is getting thumbs up from Victoria.

Plans by the developer, Christopher Investment Ltd., call for an 11-storey condominium tower facing Yates Street and a four-storey rental apartment/townhouse building.

A housing agreement to be signed with the city would ensure 33 units in the four-storey building would remain rental in perpetuity...

The lower two floors would have five townhouses as well as six other units which would let people run a ground-floor business and live upstairs.

Rental apartments -- bachelor suites plus one and two bedroom units -- would be on the third and fourth floors, Crosby said.

The rental building is going up because Victoria is granting a bonus density for the condominium project, he said.

Crosby predicts the housing project will animate the street and hopes it will help create a neighborhood where people feel comfortable walking about at any time of the day or night. The project is bounded by Quadra, Yates and View streets.

Coun. Alan Lowe, planning chairman, said the development has an interesting mix of uses with home-based businesses, affordable housing and condos.

The city got good value for the bonus density, he said.

But Coun. Geoff Young doesn't agree. If the city decided to change the zoning, he would have preferred the city get cash value from the developer to use on amenities to benefit all citizens.

#254 Nparker

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Posted 01 October 2019 - 12:58 PM

Plans by the developer...call for an 11-storey condominium tower facing Yates Street and a four-storey rental apartment/townhouse building...bounded by Quadra, Yates and View streets...

So nothing ever came of this proposal.

#255 G-Man


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Posted 01 October 2019 - 06:00 PM

It was too good a deal for everyone.

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#256 aastra

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 10:18 AM

I nominate the pool replacement issue as perhaps the definitive example of how "the more Victoria changes, the more it stays the same". Note the green space aspect. Many times I've tried to remind people that Central Park gave up a big chunk of green space when the current pool was built, but I didn't realize there was uproar about it even back in the day:



Daily Colonist
February 28, 1971

The Story of a Pool

When the first water enthusiasts dive into Victoria's new swimming pool in September, it will be exactly four years since city officials dropped the first hints of a new pool to replace Crystal Garden.

The new aquatic complex in Central Park, Quadra and Queens, will not only be Victoria's most beautiful recreational facility, but also its most expensive one.

The end product... will cost a whopping $1.8 million, more than twice as much as intimated four years ago...

...(in 1967) Ald. Percy Frampton said the city could build a brand-new facility comparable to the Crystal Garden for an estimated $750,000, but that figure was never mentioned again.

One year later...the cost of a new swimming pool was estimated at "close to $1 million;" that figure, too, disappeared from the scene.

Critics of the project have never denied that the new pool will be beautiful, and will add considerably to the city's recreational aspect, but they have voiced objections to the location and the cost.

They have objected to "cutting Central Park in half." They have objected to the lack of parking facilities at the site. They have pointed out that Saanich is building a swimming pool for less than $500,000.

Supporters of the project have countered... The question of parking, they have claimed, is irrelevant, because there is no provision for parking at the Crystal Garden either.

(Some parking spaces will be provided at the nearby curling rink.)

As for cutting the park in half, defenders of the new pool have pointed out that by putting a roof over part of a park, the city isn't reducing recreational space.

Edited by aastra, 16 October 2019 - 10:24 AM.

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#257 aastra

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 09:16 AM

Snippets of housing crisis media coverage, 1946 to 1980:


Daily Colonist
March 10, 1946

Housing Delays

Under the caption of "What's holding up housing," The Financial Post last week summarized present conditions across Canada as disappointing, and without the results that this nation had looked for.

"Looked at from any angle, Government attempts so far to solve the housing crisis have fallen tragically short of the mark..."

"Today we have scores of thousands of families cooped up in overcrowded living quarters and the situation is getting more desperate every week...

Daily Colonist
October 15, 1967

Housing Crisis Stymies B.C.

Trade Minister Loffmark appearing on television recently, made some viewers angry when he called public housing projects "ghettoes." He claims they relegate a growing number of Canadians to the status of perpetual renters and make the government a landlord, both bad.

Attorny General Bonner... made it clear that public housing is viewed with considerable official disfavor here.

...in the end it is Ottawa -- not B.C. -- which holds the key to the housing crisis.

...the question is really the basic one of whether Canadians shall continue to own their own homes or whether we become a nation of tenants.

...the prospects of the average working man owning his own home today are so remote as to be practically out of sight.

B.C. spokesmen obviously see a diminishing role for the single family dwelling in Victoria and Vancouver. They would like to encourage more self-owned apartments and row houses, and last session passed a Strata Titles Act which permits this.


Daily Colonist
December 6, 1967

City, Candidates Looking for Votes

(one candidate's statment below)

"I believe that we must also face our housing crisis realistically. The present city program of urban renewal and slum clearance is not progressing quickly enough."

(aastra says: it progressed pretty damn quickly in the Blanshard-Rose neighbourhood and in the Cormorant Street section of Chinatown -- the former to facilitate the city's Blanshard Street extension and the latter to facilitate the city's Centennial Square project)


Daily Colonist
December 12, 1967

B.C. Starts Blitz on Homes Crisis

Establishment of a central housing authority, involving all three levels of government, to attack the acute housing crisis in BC was announced Monday by the provincial government.

Daily Colonist
March 6, 1968

Victorians Tackle Homes Crisis

The Community Welfare Council has announced plans for a meeting of organizations interested in solutions to Victoria's housing crisis.

The council will meet Friday to draw up an agenda...


Daily Colonist
August 31, 1968

Rent Controls Suggested to Solve Housing Crisis

Governments may be forced into rent control until the housing crisis is solved, Saaanich Ald. Edith Gunning suggested Friday.

Big Problem
"I don't know what to do until there are enough houses available, except to go into rent control."

Older Homes
"Saanich has tried to do something by buying older houses to rent to low-income families, but that seems to be falling through because there are no suitable houses on the market."

"There are so many factors beyond our control -- high land prices, and high interest costs are the main ones. I've never been in favor of rent controls, but you wonder what else can be done to keep rents at a reasonable level."

...the crisis has reached such proportions that all reasonable solutions will have to be considered.

Daily Colonist
January 7, 1969

Pump-Priming Fund Urged for City Housing

- Saanich sets up council committee to tackle housing crises; Oak Bay's future tied to townhouses and garden courts

Mayor Hugh Stephen proposed Monday that Victoria set up a $150,000 pump-priming fund that could result in construction of $3,000,000 worth of low-rental housing in the city.

Among the mayor's proposals for this year were:

- a new zoning concept for downtown development


Daily Colonist
April 2, 1969

Rigid Bylaws Blamed for House Shortage

A Victoria architect-planner - D.M. Cowin - Tuesday blamed the housing crisis on municipalities because of their rigid bylaws and told Saanich housing committee that its municipality was one of the worst offenders.

The committee later was less than enthusiastic about Mr. Cowin's proposal for helping to ease the housing crisis in Saanich by the construction of at least 20 patio dwelling units.

He said Transport Minister Paul Hellyer's housing report stressed the need for freedom of choice but a home-seeker has only two options - "a single-family residence at a cost he can't afford or a filing cabinet unsuitable for family living."

He said it was time to base calculations on people instead of on buildings and to set performance standards determining the number of persons per acre, the minimum open areas per person, the distance between opposite windows and the capacities of streets and services.

The patio housing proposal calls for the use of "industrialized" (prefabricated) houses which would be assembled on the building site at a saving of from 12/5 to 15 per cent of conventional costs.



Daily Colonist
September 7, 1969

"There's No Place to Go in City"
Rent increases, apathy, shortage of housing hit pensioners, Indians, people with children

"Landlords are becoming extortionists, helped by the housing crisis, the tearing down of older houses..."

The bitter comment came Saturday from a 70-year-old pensioner who can either leave his housekeeping room or pay a $5 a month rent increase.

"Please don't use my name, or I shall get an eviction notice, and there's just no place to go in the city," he added.

The pensioner was just one more victim of a housing crisis which hit Victoria about three years ago...

...there's a need for about 1,200 housing units in Victoria, and today's bleak picture is unlikely to change at least during the next two years.

Other families, unable to pay high rents or unacceptable to landlords because they have children or pets, are doubling up in substandard accommodation.

...rent for apartments, duplexes, houses and housekeeping rooms is being increased two or three times a year, while older houses are being torn down to make way for expensive apartment blocks.

"I don't quite know who they're going to put into the new apartment blocks,"

"The pensioners can't afford to go in, and people with children wouldn't be allowed, even if they could pay the rent."

The destruction of older houses that have been used as suites for families and housekeeping rooms for pensioners distresses both the elderly and those who work in housing.

"There just aren't enough houses now, and these people who are moved out to make way for apartments have no place to go,"

"So many places that are for rent are only temporary because they are to be pulled down for apartments,"

Silver Threads director... also complained about spiralling rents, temporary housing, and tenement-like conditions.

"The plaster has been off the walls, linoleum torn, and not a lick of paint on the places. The landlord will say openly that he has no intention of doing anything, and he doesn't care if he rents or not."

"A city lot will sell for $7,000 to $8,000, so it really doesn't matter too much to him,"


Daily Colonist
September 14, 1969

Efforts for Two Years May Ease House Crisis

Efforts are being made by both government and private agencies to solve Victoria's housing crisis, and the worst problems could be over in about two years time, says Victoria assistant city manager William Hooson.

...the first limited-dividend building in Victoria will be a 20-storey apartment at Fort and Quadra, intended mainly for pensioners.

(aastra says: also known as View Towers)



Daily Colonist
September 14, 1969

Squeeze Is On
High Density Inevitable

The housing squeeze tightened up another notch Monday, when the federal government's Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation interest rates go up to 9.5 per cent.

The day of the single-family home, so long considered the natural aspiration of everyone, may be just about over in Canada, said Mr. Jackson (Philip G. Jackson, president of Victoria Real Estate Board).

Condominium housing -- in effect, row housing or apartments put up for shared ownership rather than for rent -- may be the only way for the average man to own his own four walls in the future...

But in Canada condominium housing is a relatively new idea and lending institutions are not used to it.

Daily Colonist
September 24, 1976

Question answered with suite bonanza

There are signs that the housing shortage in Victoria will be greatly relieved -- if not eliminated -- in the next 12 months.

The housing construction boom expected to begin shortly will produce at estimated 2,000 apartment units. The city's engineering department is processing about $60 million worth of buildings permit applications.

...the 2,000 units would "make a sizeable dent" in the city's housing shortage.

There are 34 or 35 projects involved, comprising the 2,000 units: all projects are of the four-storey frame construction type.

All will have reasonably-priced rental accommodation because they will be partly financed by federal low-interest money.

City officials say there isn't a condominium project among the 34.

Builders feared that the commission might rule against the four storeys, allowing only three-storey frame buildings.


Globe and Mail
20 March 1980


Greater Vancouver has the most serious housing shortage in North America, says a study released by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

The corporation also disclosed that: Victoria and Vancouver rank first and second in Canada for the lowest vacancy rate.

Edited by aastra, 25 October 2019 - 09:42 AM.

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#258 aastra

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Posted 25 October 2019 - 09:17 AM

More snippets of housing crisis media coverage, 1989 to present:


Vancouver Sun
19 October 1989

Housing Crisis Rally

Dozens of families are expected to march on Victoria city hall this morning. They want council to use its influence to get the province to ban adult-only apartment buildings. The rally is sponsored by Citizens for Affordable Housing, a citizens' pressure group which has grown up in response to Victoria's housing crisis.


The Province
22 November 1989


Victoria is handing out $20 million to B.C. developers to build about 2,000 rental-housing units.

But critics say the scheme will do more for developers than for people needing affordable housing.

New Democratic Party housing critic Robin Blencoe said the plan will do nothing to create affordable housing in the province.

"All this does is build housing units that most British Columbians can't afford, and it uses taxpayers' dollars to do it," said the Victoria MLA. "This isn't a trickle-down theory - it's a drip."

"It really will do virtually nothing to ease the housing crisis," he said.


Vancouver Sun
28 February 1990

Victoria, municipalities agree to seek solutions to rental housing crisis

The provincial government and the Union of B.C. Municipalities came to a meeting of the minds Tuesday over the housing crisis, and have agreed to jointly look at solutions, UBCM president Len Traboulay said.

...the provincial review, which will be conducted between the UBCM and staff from the ministries of municipal affairs, social services and housing, finance and labor and consumer services, are aimed at shepherding amending legislation through the next sitting of the legislature.

Those changes will hopefully address secondary suites, affordability and availability of suites, rent review and elimination of discrimination against couples with children...



Vancouver Sun
02 August 1990

B.C. rental crisis worst in country: Situation 'gross' for Victoria, Vancouver

The rental housing crisis in Victoria and Vancouver is worse than anywhere else in Canada, a new study shows.

"For renters, the situation appears to be deteriorating,"

...the proportion of renters paying more than 30 per cent of their gross incomes for housing was higher in Greater Victoria than anywhere else in Canada.

...about 20 per cent of Victoria renters were paying more than half their gross income for rent.

Social planners generally say no one should have to pay more than 30 per cent of their income for housing.

...48 per cent of Victoria's renters were in fact paying more than that. In Vancouver, the figure was 45 per cent.

...the problem has worsened in the past year or so because "rent increases are generally outpacing incomes."

...the problem is likely to continue to worsen because the region is facing a severe shortage of land zoned and serviced for rental housing.

The average rent increase in the past year has been 11 per cent.

...municipalities should require new subdivisions and housing projects to include 20 per cent of their units as "affordable rental units."


Vancouver Sun
29 May 1993

Trouble in the Garden: Behind Victoria's grand facade lies a crisis in affordable housing


...all's quiet down on the waterfront in the James Bay district overlooking the inner harbor, where... the classy, brick-faced Harbourside condo towers are all sold out save for a couple of suites for $320,000 and $580,000.

Yet across town... Kaye Melliship, intense and intelligent, is fighting a lone and losing battle to generate more affordable housing and stave off what she perceives as the "serious housing crisis" that has Victoria in its grip.

A planner with the Capital Region Housing Corp., Melliship says she can't find any affordable housing for her waiting list of 1,060 families, 361 seniors and 154 disabled people who, for a variety of reasons, require less expensive accommodation.

"There is a vast need for affordable housing right now in Victoria. We know that 20,000 to 30,000 households are paying too much for their housing and could require some assistance to make ends meet," she says.

Defining affordable as the ability for low- and moderate-income families to have rental and ownership opportunities that cost 30 per cent or less of their income, she points out that Victoria is the most difficult city in Canada for people to get out of renting and buy their own place.

Only 7.5 per cent of renters in Victoria can afford to buy a house or condominium of their own compared with 20.5 per cent in Vancouver, 27 per cent in Toronto and 35 per cent in Montreal.

She sees a number of barriers to affordable housing:

* Lack of municipal policies, plans and strategies.
* A dramatic cut in capital funds from senior government for non-market housing.
* High cost of land and absence of land servicing.
* No-growth policies in communities due to constraints in the capacity of infrastructure and community values.
* Lengthy development approval processes.

Les Bjola, president of Victoria Real Estate Board, agrees that there is a great need for more affordable housing, but he believes the problem stems from two key issues: an increasing shortage of developable land and the lack of quality regional planning.

"The land shortage is even more pronounced here than in Vancouver...

Melliship and Bjola are concerned about the way 1,200 acres of land in the Tod Inlet area and 1,800 acres south in the Highlands district of Langford will ultimately be developed. They would like to see the land developed in a way that permits higher densities, which would generate more affordable housing.


March 23, 1995

Victoria renters having trouble paying

Nearly half the tenants in Victoria may be having difficulty finding the rent, federal bean-counters said Tuesday.

With about 44 per cent of all renters experiencing "housing affordability problems" in 1991, Victoria ranked highest of 25 centres surveyed, Statistics Canada said.

That's no surprise for Victoria renters. "Victoria is the hardest place anywhere in Canada for tenants to find a place to live and they have the least chance of escaping tenancy," said Mike Walker of the Tenants Rights Coalition. "There is nowhere else in the country where things are so bad."

Walker said it's "sad" the federal government has removed itself from the affordable-housing business. "For what we have in B.C., crisis isn't the right word any more."


08 July 2002

It's tough finding rental units: Proposed revisions to tenancy act could make situation worse

For students and other renters on a tight budget... finding a place to live in Victoria is difficult.

Peggy Prill, a market analyst with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation calls Victoria a "constrained" market.

When the corporation measured the vacancy rate of the region's rentals last October, it sat at 0.5 per cent -- that's equal to 130 of the region's 26,000 units available.

A healthy vacancy rate is at about two per cent, she said.

Prill said there are many reasons for the housing shortage.

The problem is compounded by the fact there have been no new rental units built for over 20 years and population has grown steadily, especially among students who return to the city for school each September.


Times Colonist
January 14, 2005

City council rejects second application for James Bay towers

Victoria council showed little appetite Thursday for new residential towers in James Bay when it rejected two proposals for apartment buildings.

Reg Stewart and his family wanted to build the first private-sector rental accommodation in the neighbourhood since the 1970s. However, council rejected rezoning applications by companies linked to the family for 16-storey and 12-storey towers opposed by most neighbouring residents.

Mark Johnston, a consultant and former city administrator representing the Stewarts, said the projects would provide badly needed rental accommodation for the city.

The proposed towers would have gone up next to the existing buildings developed by the Stewarts several decades ago -- the Goodacre Towers, Regent Towers and Charter House buildings. Their proposal also offered $400,000 for the James Bay New Horizons seniors centre for a food-services facility.

The city planning department said this fell way short of the $3-million cash benefit required under the city's "density bonus" policy...

Mayor Alan Lowe said while the city needs more rental accommodation, the proposals were "too big and too dense." Towers built in the 1970s could no longer serve as the model for James Bay...

Coun. Pamela Madoff said that neighbourhood was effectively "downzoned" in the 1970s after residents complained about too many tall buildings...


CBC News
November 10, 2006

Victoria launches homelessness strategy

Victoria city council has invited anti-poverty activists to work on its new housing strategy committee, which will try to come up with solutions for the estimated 2,000 homeless in the capital.

...councillors prepared to hear from dozens of people who have been lobbying council for less talk and more action.

But after hearing from just one speaker, Coun. Sonya Chandler announced plans to create a housing strategy committee, and invited the ad hoc citizens group to join it.

"I think that there's some pretty immediate stuff that can happen, that can satisfy everybody," she told the crowd.

The group has asked the city to create 50 more emergency shelter beds and to seize abandoned buildings downtown and convert them into affordable housing units.



Aging population in financial limbo and a housing crisis
December 30, 2014

...thousands of Victorians are struggling to live below the poverty line, an increasing number of them approaching or well past the retirement years.

"The trend is the population in general is aging, which includes people in the poorest sectors. But there are significant affordability issues [in Victoria] as well,"

With the Victoria rental vacancy rate dropping to 1.5 per cent in October from 2.8 per cent in the same month last year and the average cost of a bachelor apartment more than $700 a month, elderly singles on a basic pension have few options.


CTV Vancouver Island
November 28, 2017

There's good and bad news for renters in one of the country's tightest markets: Greater Victoria's vacancy rate is slightly up – but average monthly rents have increased sharply.

New data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows that the capital city's overall vacancy rate has risen to 0.7 per cent.

That's up from 0.5 per cent, which was among the lowest vacancy rates in Canadian cities.

But the CMHC report says the average rent in Greater Victoria is now $1,072 – up 7.7 per cent from $994 in 2016.

It's the largest year-over-year increase since 1991, and CMHC says it mirrors accelerated prices in the home ownership market.

"Metro Victoria's rental market remains tight. Supply has not kept up with population growth and a shift away from homeownership," senior market analyst Braden Batch said...


February 17, 2019

Comment: Step up or step aside, developers

The rapid price escalation of real estate has effectively erased many first-time homebuyers’ downpayments, and where the flow of renters into homeownership has frozen, adding to the competition for rental units.

With a generation shut out of homeownership, and competition for rentals fierce, people with any sign that they are different don’t have a snowball's chance in hell of securing a place to live.




October 25, 2019

...council wasn't in the middle of a housing crisis when it approved the official community plan in 2012 or it might look far different today.

"Putting this amount of housing and this amount of density on this site responds to the housing crisis..."

(article: "Victoria council OKs four-tower Harris Green project that includes fire hall and housing")

Edited by aastra, 29 November 2019 - 11:04 AM.

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#259 AllseeingEye



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Posted 26 October 2019 - 08:54 PM

I was living in Goodacre South when the proposal for those two "towers" was floated; it was actually a reasonable project with the two of them going up on what was and is still part of the parking lot that serves Goodacre South and North, fronting onto Douglas St. As I recall too the westernmost portion of the lot which offered covered spots for about 30 or so cars, was to be razed and a townhouse row project built in its place.


Most residents of "Goodacre" itself were generally fine with it but I well remember the howls of protest by other James Bay residents, championed of course by Madoff, in righteous indignation and opposition. Its examples like this IMO that bestow upon this city its well deserved NIMBY status.


Moreover that smug, self righteous "I'm alright Jack but eff you" attitude does nothing to tackle the omnipresent housing crunch in this region. Assuming rents in the new buildings would have been comparable to Goodacre they would have been very affordable to lots of folks at the time. In Goodacre South I was in a 6th floor corner suite overlooking BHP and was paying $775/mo for a roomy 1 bdrm 1 bathroom apartment with a large deck. But of course no way did the James Bay NIMBY's in particular want to see more 'monstrosities" of that ilk defile their precious little Victoria! Uh-uh!! No way!!! 


Makes one wonder whether some of these stiffs actually ever get off the island, travel about and see what real world class cities look like.....

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#260 Mike K.

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Posted 27 October 2019 - 08:28 AM

I suspect they do, and they love seeing cities for what they are.

But back home they don’t like change. You also have to remember that the CALUCs are sometimes comprised of individuals who for the first time in their life wield consequential power. To them the experience as part of a CALUC can be quite compelling, and learning how much power they actually wield can create the impression that it is their duty to be a gatekeeper and put up a fight in order to extract as much from the developer as possible. Add media attention into the fray and you create a co-dependence where the media wants your sensationalized comments, and you want to provide them.

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