LETTERS: Time to talk civic issues

Letter writers address issues they would like addressed by civic candidates.

Editor:

Is affordable housing an issue for you? For White Rock? Housing issues exist for everyone across income brackets – $10,000 to $80,000.

CMHC provides standard definitions to determine whether affordable, adequate, appropriate housing is a problem. These definitions are important, because municipalities are expected to adhere to these standards in the Official Community Plan.

Affordable housing costs less than 30 per cent of pre-tax household income. Households in core housing need to spend 30 per cent or more of pre-tax income to pay median rent, including utilities.

In White Rock, the median rent is $891 for a one-bedroom suite, not including utilities. This means, if your pre-tax income is $27,814 or less, and you pay monthly $900 for rent, you are paying $205 beyond the affordability index. If your income is $19,460 or less, and you pay $850 for rent, you are paying $364 beyond the affordability index.

Factor in basic costs such as hydro, food, transportation and medical, and you are at imminent risk of homelessness.

In White Rock, 32 per cent of the population rents in aged rental stock, with 45.1 per cent paying 30 per cent plus, and 10 per cent receiving subsidy.

Seniors 65+ make up 29 per cent plus of the population, and if you look at seniors aged 60 onward, when BC Housing’s Safer program kicks in, the percentage of seniors rises to 39 per cent.

On Oct. 22, Isobel Mackenzie, seniors advocate with the Ministry of Health, announced affordable, appropriate, adequate and accessible housing as the number 1 issue for seniors and for her department.

For White Rock, in 2006 these issues received miniscule attention. In 2010, White Rock received $5,000 from CMHC to develop a strategic plan, which never made it into the OCP.

Now it’s 2014 and election time.

Whoever gets elected, their first job will be coming up to speed on what other municipalities have accomplished, and the standards other municipalities have set in place.

Ask candidates: What will you commit doing about it?

Rose Marie Borutski & Deirdre Goudriaan, Semiahmoo Seniors Planning Table

• • •

Another undemocratic and boring meeting (Frustrations air at W.R. debate, Nov. 4).

The people from White Rock came to participate in a lively debate; they learned nothing!

As usual, a group of the organizing committee scrutinized the questions to the candidates and sorted them into different piles.

Then the candidates had two minutes to speak; did they not get their views across to the electorate before? Forty minutes gone.

Then the moderator announces there are too many questions to the candidates and he has decided to restrict the “debate” to two or three topics. He also informs the audience that “these people (mayor and council) cannot decide on the future of the railway tracks; that is for the feds in Ottawa.” Wrong

He also says transport comes under the province, as does health care.

I expected the incumbents to protest. After all, they had just spent $20,000 for a consultant to advise them how to complete Transport Canada application documents to relocate the tracks, since staff advised them they are not qualified.

The 38-page report from the consultant could have been written, for free, by half a dozen qualified White Rock residents.

Regarding transport, if the municipal governments do not lobby the provincial government and/or TransLink, how do you think improvements can be achieved?

As for health care, unless somebody presses the government to add more beds to a hospital, nothing is going to happen.

It’s very simple to condense diverse questions into two or three dozen precise questions to a candidate.

Give her/him two minutes to reply, inviting maximum two candidates to express their views.

Scrap opening and closing statements. Candidates can call and organize their own meetings.

Wolfgang Schmitz, White Rock

 

 

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