Hundreds of people showed up last Wednesday to discuss the future of development in the Chilliwack Proper area that surrounds the downtown core, including Fairfield Island.
City hall called the attendance “record-breaking” at the meeting that was the first step of a plan spanning until 2040.
There is, however, considerable pushback among some Fairfield Island residents to anything other than single family homes.
The micro issue of neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood NIMBYism is nothing new at planning meetings, but the sentiment always overlooks the macro picture of inevitable growth.
More people are moving to the city all the time. It’s hard to stop that.
As it is, housing prices continue to skyrocket across the Lower Mainland, and it’s spilling out here to Chilliwack.
By August 2017, the average price of a single family home in the Chilliwack and district area went up 22 per cent year over year. Over two years, that was 58 per cent.
There is also an undeniable rental crisis in the city with low vacancy rates in almost every neighbourhood and people desperate to find suitable accommodation.
Chilliwack needs more housing sooner rather than later, and there isn’t a lot of undeveloped land around.
It’s no secret that there are really three choices: hillsides, farmland, or densification.
The first one is expensive, the second is essentially a non-starter, so we are left with densification.
Infill is coming, and while consultation is important, just about every neighbourhood is going to have to take its share.
We just hope densification is done taking full consideration of community feedback.