Editor, The News:
Re: Renters feeling squeeze for space (The News, Nov. 27).
I sat with the social planning committee for a year at city hall during the former mayor’s term.
This committee worked very hard at producing, the Action Housing Plan for our city. These are very dedicated individuals who volunteered their time and efforts to produce this plan.
My personal feeling about this concern was that it be truly action orientated, not just another study gathering dust on someone’s shelf.
The problem with just relying on market based rental properties is that they’re in it for the money – people wanting to enrich themselves using the real estate market for profit, and I understand this.
But, I’ll give you one example of a rental property in our city which has changed hands five times by exactly these types of people wanting to make a quick profit on the property. It’s downtown and is really what I consider to be low-end rental.
Each time these speculators flipped the property and made some cash, the rents would go up. And, this is after doing precious little to improve them.
In other words, the same low-end rental unit, which used to rent for $450 a month, now costs $600 or more a month.
Some people are getting rich from this, but the reality is, others are getting poorer from this.
Can you see what I’m getting at? We need to have some counter balance to this trend, and to do this our governments must help out with some affordable units for those of us who are in the lower income bracket.
This is exactly what the city’s action plan was about. So why aren’t there any new affordable housing units being built in our city?
Because, there isn’t enough incentive for developers to do this.
And, that is where the city and other levels of government must do their part to provide the incentives for them to get the ball rolling,
I agree with Coun. Craig Speirs: “We really need to get on it.”
John E. McKenzie