More Golf Courses! More Golf Courses!

Tonight, a public meeting regarding the 2012 shortfall for the Cedar Hill Golf Course was held. As CTV News reported, the municipal golf course is projected to lose over $800,000 this year. It was announced earlier this month that the full service restaurant on the course would be reduced to a light food and beverage operation to address a food services deficit of over $500,000. A $800,000 deficit isn't a reason to close down or the scrap the golf course, but I have a better reason to stop manicuring the grass: the CRD has more than a half dozen golf courses. The Cedar Hill Golf Course uses 20 blocks of space. This isn't a town with a sprawling prairie out our back door. Space in the region is finite; we're literally fighting housing capacity with our back to the sea. The Malahat is not going to be opened to allow the lands up-island to become bedroom communities. We're talking again and again about not encouraging suburban sprawl into the Western Communities. We bemoan people driving out the Colwood in this environment where we demonize cars. Twenty blocks of central residential land could give rise to 1000 single family dwellings and house 2500 to 5000 residents. It could turn 1000 households into 1000 sets of home owners. If mixed single-family dwelings and high density, this space could house more than 5000 people.

The national median single family dwelling price is about $347,000. Victoria blows that average out of the water. Victoria is notoriously unaffordable. If a 20-block tract of land were parceled up and sold at the national average of $250,000 per parcel, it would give Saanich a windfall of $250,000,000. Tax paying homes who thereafter contribute $1.5-million-plus to the Saanich tax revenue. Home owners could put a $100,000+ home on the property. This could allow entry level homes to come into the region's inventory. Mortgages on $350,000 would be similar to the going-rate for rental prices. This new volume of housing would raise the volume of rental suites and freeze their price climb. More traditional rental volume would mean less demand for secondary suites. Increased rental volume would free up apartments for people who are forced to leave the regions and those who are forced to live on the streets. These lots could be sold with provisions. Saanich could sell the property with the rider that the owner is a first-time home owner and barred from selling the property for five years.

So what's more important in the region? A seventh golf course (like the one that Len Barrie made for us) or do we want affordable housing?

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