Decision warrants community input

The outcome of the council vote has me wondering whether the public hearing was more for optics

Re: Secondary suite bylaw supported (Jan. 30)

I attended the public hearing during which I and others raised some serious concerns, not only regarding the effect on the neighborhood in question, but the broader implications that such a change would have on our community and one of the key factors that attracts people from larger centres to Hope. In fact, though not great in number, twice as many people spoke and emailed against the rezoning than for it.

The outcome of the council vote has me wondering whether the public hearing was more for optics, to satisfy a process requirement and enable them to push their agenda forward, than to gauge where people stand and act accordingly. I recognize that governments must at times make unpopular decisions that make fiscal and/or economic sense, however this situation does neither.

Why it was deemed important to spend a great deal of time, energy, and money over two years to explore high density housing and gather a mere 63 opinions in the process when we have a surplus of affordable inventory sitting idle in our community is a mystery to me. To then take those 63 opinions and claim “overwhelming support” because 46 of them indicated support of secondary suites adds insult to injury. It seems to me that a decision of this magnitude would warrant extensive community input and a cohesive long term plan, neither of which were garnered nor provided.

Imagine the difference these resources could have made had they been directed toward the more pressing issues we face as a community, such as making the investments and adjustments necessary to attract employers, businesses, residents and visitors.

All of this is a symptom of a larger problem. I believe the bigger issue for our mayor and council to consider is why the community is so disengaged from the issues before us. Based on this outcome, I suspect it is because they don’t believe their input will make a difference in the outcome. Unless and until this changes, nothing else will.

Michelle Richardson,

Hope