White hearts with messages of support were hung on the fence at Vernon Jubilee Hospital at the start of the pandemic in 2020. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star file)

LETTER: Rezoning to alleviate affordable housing

A private citizens poll was recently circulated to homeowners in the Rise community to garner input regarding secondary suites and short-term rentals that are beginning to appear in contravention of the current Resort Residential zoning.

The concern was the potential of rezoning to allow rentals of this nature. The response was negative in the extreme and the result passed to the mayor as a clear indication of how residents in the area were upset with any attempt to rezone the community to allow such accommodations.

Residents of the Rise and most other satellite communities in Vernon did not purchase their homes in planned communities to slowly see their neighbourhoods become ghettos of congested parking and spats over increased density that ultimately lead to resident tensions.

What’s causing the rezoning concern?

It’s part of the push by the council to resolve the affordable housing issue.

In fact, affordable housing has been a subject in every Official Community Plan for the past 10 years with only minimal movement by the city to rectify the issue.

The Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, whose rezoning recommendations the council have adopted, obviously don’t appreciate what constitutes a sense of community where pride of ownership is paramount.

The mayor resorted to the usual weasel words promising Rise property owners a “public hearing” where community input would be sought prior to any rezoning decision.

Well, we’ve seen this movie before and, in my opinion, it doesn’t come close to passing the laugh test.

Just ask the Graceland residents who put a full court press on council protesting vigorously against a proposed high-rise bordering their property and were rewarded with balconies overlooking their backyards.

Our civic government is a master practitioner of social engineering. The frustrations of forcing the public to “share the road” is now morphing into “share your neighbourhood.”

Believe me, there is no end.

It makes absolutely no sense to solve one problem by creating another. It does, however, keep our body politic busy resolving issues that they are clearly in the business of creating!

Alan D. Wilson

Vernon