Letters to the Editor

City land use draws query

Dear Sir:

As the outgoing executive director of Ksan House Society, I’d like to bring up, again, the willingness of Ksan Society to build 20 units of low cost housing.

On February 10, 2014, the mayor was quoted in a story in The Terrace Standard regarding the high rents being charged by some landlords.

Below is part of that story, which has some very good words from the mayor.

“Just because you can rent out your basement suite for $2,500,  doesn’t mean you should.

That’s the word from Terrace mayor Dave Pernarowski, who, along with other members of Terrace city council, have been speaking with residents who are increasingly anxious about either finding a place to live or coping with rising costs amidst an increasingly tight rental market.

Taking advantage of a strong economy market is one thing, but setting rental prices that are negatively affecting our community and makes us appear to be greedy and insensitive is a problem,” wrote Pernarowski in a response to a local resident lamenting the area’s sky-rocketing rents on the mayor’s public Facebook group.

Expanding on his comments later, Pernarowski acknowledged that “it’s a fine balance and a bit of a tough statement, because certainly I understand market conditions, and when the market was tough in Terrace, those landlords were not, in a lot of cases, seeing any renters at all and they were certainly charging dollars that were a lot lower.

“Market conditions would allow them to upgrade their units and charge more money but it just seems to me that there are some, I’ll say, that perhaps are taking advantage of a situation,” he continued, emphasizing that’s not the case for all landlords.

And now, in May 2014, if I wrote those words, mine would say:

“Just because the City can sell the land it owns, doesn’t mean you should. That’s the word from Ksan Executive Director, Carol Sabo who, along with other members of her staff have been speaking with residents who are increasingly anxious about either finding a place to live or coping with rising costs amidst an increasingly tight rental market.

“Taking advantage of a strong economy market is one thing, but setting a purchase price that is negatively affecting our community and makes us appear to be greedy and insensitive is a problem,” wrote Sabo in a response to local residents lamenting the area’s sky-rocketing rents.

Expanding on her comments later, Sabo acknowledged that “it’s a fine balance and a bit of a tough statement, because certainly I understand market conditions, and when the market was tough in Terrace, as when the Province of B.C. wanted to build low income seniors units, the City was certainly charging dollars that were a lot lower, zero, in fact.

“Market conditions would allow them to liquidate city holdings intended for low income housing and charge more money but it just seems to me that there are some, I’ll say, that perhaps are taking advantage of a situation,” she continued, emphasizing that’s not the case for all communities.”

I had a conversation with city councillor Stacey Tyers some months ago where I stressed the city must take some responsibility for the social concerns within the community, now and in the future.

I explained why then and I’d be willing to appear before council to explain it to everyone. It’s part of what builds strong communities and it’s what neighbours do – it makes us more than a corporation looking for profit.

Land that has already been earmarked for housing, a project where more private land does not need to be purchased, is a perfect means to take that responsibility through a long-term, low cost, lease.

That is the single item that is stopping 20 low cost housing rental units.

Just because you can charge market value doesn’t mean you should.

Carol Sabo,

Terrace, B.C.

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