I wish to make a simple but provocative point: focusing on building strong cities is also a valuable form of productive conservation. Or, to put it negatively, you can't persistently block new housing in your neighbourhood while boldly claiming to care about the environment. We should do a lot to protect wetlands and other crucial ecosystems while simultaneously reconsidering the way that we have tried to protect our built up residential areas.
To be responsible, you must support the gradual addition of new housing units on the lands that we have currently decided are suitable places to build neighbourhoods in regions where housing demand is high. The effect of suppressing supply of housing on housing lands for several decades has meant that the City of Delta has officially made it extremely difficult to address the housing needs it freely admits are real in its own reports on the issue. Instead of the gradual adaptation of existing buildings to house more family members, take on a boarder, or provide space for a co-worker, cities have stopped the dynamic adjustment of neighbourhoods through zoning and now face a whole host of ills because of this decision.
The Problem: Our pattern of development in Delta hinders our ability to find appropriate forms of housing for us in the different stages of our lives within our community.
There are some roads and highways that feel like they are designed especially for your big souped-up truck. Wide-open spaces, broad shoulders, and endless views. Tight winding forest roads where only the rough and tough travel. Treacherous dirt roads that repel road graders, minivans, and Kias but welcome you with open arms. Yet, you know your lift kit and custom exhaust system wasn't added so you could outperform everyone in town, was it? You need that raw adrenaline-fueled performance when you're fording creeks and scaling mountains! When you're at the race track or the truck rally, right?! Yet when it comes to the streets in you and your friends' neighbourhoods in Ladner, you feel like you're being set up in two different ways...
Neighbourhood streets are tricky places to navigate for big trucks. They're even trickier to navigate at speeds of 50 km/h and up. Unfortunately, the risk of a collision with a lesser being only increases when there happen to be people walking or cycling on or across the street. We can do better for our truck owners!
We normally look at the total tax bill. Big properties pay big bills and that’s what makes our city’s finance department happy. Right? We should take one additional step to assess the contributions of our property owners in order to have a productive conversation about growth and value in our city.
Our expectation of sites being brought up to code means that many property owners are stuck with a dilemma when they want to modify their buildings: either bite the bullet and undertake a much larger project than you first intended to bring the building up to code OR ignore the upgrade that is needed and affordable because you can't stomach the prospect of addressing all of the non-conforming areas in the building.
Our leaders have adopted 5 strategies to ease the pressure that comes from passing balanced budgets that are paid for primarily through property tax revenues. These strategies are not all of equal merit and we'll evaluate them before offering suggestions about things we can do in Delta to afford a better future.
When we decide to embrace the small lots and historic street layout of Ladner Village, we will be able to give our property owners and developers a clear set of guidelines for the significant projects of redevelopment that will bring lively energy, homes for many, and greater prosperity to this great part of Delta.
Delta's patio plan, along with the temporary widening of sidewalks in key areas to allow for social distancing to be followed on our sidewalks, has shown that it really is possible to modify the streetscape in a matter of days. And, what's more, it's possible to change it numerous times in response to changing conditions!