A lot of time has been spent on the MMHI of late, and rightly
so! MMHI was a complex proposal and, while chock full of good ideas,
it had some serious flaws.
Limited communication was one, an initiative this big, this transformational required a much more extensive public education outreach.
Outside of political insiders, housing advocates and, developers, most folks were unaware of the impacts of the plan – and would have remained so until the house next to them was replaced by a building much more impactful.
This brings us to the next point. Authority for MMH was to be on every lot as of right, with approvals delegated to staff and no public input or discussion. Surrendering Council authority to unelected, unaccountable staff was, in this case, a non-starter.
Lastly, there was a great deal of misunderstanding about how the MMHI would somehow help to solve our affordable housing crisis. Certainly and 4plex, 6plex, or townhouse would be far out of reach of anyone looking for affordable housing. Although it was stated that creation of new housing would free up more affordable units further down the housing chain, this is not a certainty. New purchasers from outside Victoria, the province, and even the country might well buy the lion’s share of new housing – leaving the target demographic of young families, professionals, and other folks already in Victoria looking to move up out in the cold.
A better approach would be a combination of measures;
focused upzoning in Villages Cores and along Corridors
allow duplex and duplex+garden suites
allow larger garden suites
work with upper levels of government to build truly affordable rentals, co-ops, etc.
In the end, it must be understood that the housing crisis was not "Made in Victoria", and the city cannot solve the problem on its own. Certainly, action can be taken at the local level to ease the permitting process, upzone areas at an incremental pace, provide land, tax breaks, and more - but when it comes to affordable housing we will need to partner with non-profits, co-ops, the Province and the Federal Government because it will take a commitment of real money to set us on the road out of this crisis!