LETTER: District of North Van needs more housing diversity

Dear editor:

As a long-time resident, I’m writing to express my concerns about our local housing economy.

Housing opportunities are especially scarce on the North Shore. Affordable housing is even more limited. This results in upward pressure on the cost of housing, due to the limited supply available in the area. I was raised in West Van, and now my kids are being raised in the Edgemont/Delbrook neighbourhood. While we are amongst the lucky few with secure housing, we all need to recognize that there are many families who are struggling to stay in our community as a result of the high cost of housing.

Our community needs a greater level of housing diversity. I worry our current District of North Vancouver council is not supportive of multi-family housing, and rather, favour the existing, exclusive single family character of DNV. However, the reality is that most people cannot afford or, if they are empty nesters, do not wish to maintain single family homes. We need more options that will better accommodate the diversity that already makes up our community, as well as those looking to move up, move down or move in.

Unfortunately, this means that our community is losing seniors (who’ve lived in DNV for many years), downsizers (because they can’t find suitable housing), critical care providers and young families (because there aren’t enough attainable housing options available). Where are our teachers, care givers, barristas, fire fighters, nurses going to live, who are integral to keeping our communities livable? Where are our children going to live? My boys are 10 and 8 years old. I worry about them getting pushed well out of our community when it’s time for them to live independently.

I understand district council has created an affordable housing task force of some kind to look at this issue, with a two-year mandate. We only need to look to the City of North Van to understand how we can create a new diversified housing stock that will allow us to grow in the right direction.

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Do we need to put this issue on hold for two years while a group of local citizens study it? Do we not have qualified planners at district hall that make such policies and recommendations?
I appreciate the opportunity to share my comments and I hope to see more housing options created in the District of North Vancouver to serve the diverse needs of our community.

Jason Black
North Vancouver

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