Much continues to be said and written about the District of No Vancouver’s compulsive nixing of social and non-market housing projects.
In particular, current Councillor Mathew Bond is a frequent critic of the actions of his counterparts on Council. His Twitter feed serves as running commentary of No after No after No…somehow, he manages to keep an even and rational tone. Maybe just a hint of strain. The sound of one head slapping. Do you hear it?
Strike 1: Reject 80 affordable homes #delbrooklands
Strike 2: Take away ? for @NSCRConnect Community Housing Action Committee.
Strike 3: https://t.co/jsZMStvgQR
— Mathew Bond (@mrmathewbond) March 21, 2019
Bond can’t afford to flame out at his colleagues too hard, because, much like a certain Federal ex-cabinet minister, he still has to work with these people, no matter how ethically challenged.
The parallel ends there, however; he’s member of an elected council, not of a party. He can’t hand in his card, cross the floor, and still keep his power. It’s a District council, and there’s no aisle to cross. He’d have to climb over the Clerk, and then where’d he be?
But he’s not the only one speaking out. Steven Petersson is a former DNV planner, and not only did he write a Master’s thesis on affordable housing provision, he worked as a residential support worker for disabled people for seven years.
In a recent letter to Mayor Little and his NIMBY cohorts — Councillors Muri, Curren, Forbes and Hanson — Petersson lays it on the line:
There’s a desperate community need for social and affordable housing.
Why put the needs of elites who already have homes over the disadvantaged who need your help?
Though he’s a community development planner and affordable and social housing provision is his vocation, Petersson has no financial ties to the ill-fated Hollyburn project, or others that might yet come to that particular neighbourhood (a plot of District land to the east of the Second Narrows Bridge).
Instead, he knew the letter will end up in the public domain, and possibly hurt him professionally. He says as much in the letter itself.
He just doesn’t care. It’s wrong. And in the middle of the letter, he really lays it all out:
Vulnerable populations in our community rely on your leadership and support to meet their basic housing needs.
I believe it is unreasonable to require affordable and social housing projects to proceed without some measure of neighbourhood opposition.
It is only after the fact, when the housing project successfully operates without issue, that the neighbourhood comes to accept the project and its residents.
Please be more supportive of such projects in the future.