Letters: Consider amenties’ worth

Amenity charges need to looked at in regard to infrastructure usage

In considering government charges for development of private property it is essential to look at different types of charges and the morality of each.

Some charges may be for providing connections for services such as sewer and water, that seems fair though cost recovery through onging usage charges should be considered. Construction of public streets and roads is a similar discussion, in the present system of government providing them there is a question of increasing capacity of main roads – some will claim the increased traffic justifies charging developers, but that ignores the huge amount of tax revenue from developed property and structures on it.

Some negative-minded people claim there is a “social cost” to higher density, but they don’t offset that with the benefits to residents of proximity to services and reduced costs of maintaining streets and utilities. (Recall NIMBYs in Sooke objecting to the notion of locating businesses adjacent to an elderly residence.) As for subsidizing government capital projects, that facilitates poorly designed grandiose buildings. In general politicians like to subsidize charity, whereas private charity is plentiful and given on merit.

Today, politicians are manipulating people by forcing property owners to pay for subsidizing residential accommodation as some people are struggling financially. That is improper and inefficient. A key reason for high accommodation prices is government getting in the way of building accommodation. Local fiefdoms and the CRD have a small version of the entrenched housing authorities that British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher worked against – she believed in people not bureaucracies, and had the guts to do something meaningful. Fortunately there is slow movement here to getting out of the way of secondary suites and alley homes. But resistance was exemplified by the Saanich councillor who objected to the word “legalizing” in one area as that would imply the reality that suites would still be illegal outside of the trial area – she illustrated the evasion of reality that voters choose in electing people like her.

With municipal elections less than a year away, voters should foster then elect officials who will think rationally for human life, and reject control freaks.

Keith Sketchley

Saanich

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