EDITORIAL – Proper consultation could avoid objections to social housing

(Image: Mel Rothenburger)

An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

NOT IN MY BACKYARD is a label often put on opponents of certain developments, especially those that involve social housing. But is NIMBYism always such a bad thing, or is it sometimes an understandable response?

Many Canadian studies have been done on the impacts of social housing on surrounding areas and most conclude property values aren’t lowered. Keep in mind that many of those studies are based on assessed values rather than selling prices.

Those same studies also indicate there’s usually no increase in crime rates when social housing moves in. But that doesn’t mean never, and there are examples of that in Kamloops.

There’s no shortage of people who will attest to higher crime rates on Victoria Street West, the Tranquille Road corridor and Columbia Street West being connected to social housing.

So when a Valleyview motor sports dealership is broken into for the fourth time in seven months, as was the case last week, the owners can be forgiven for wondering if nearby social housing units are a factor.

And when residents around Kingston Avenue find out a temporary social housing project will go up in their Westmount neighbourhood, it shouldn’t be surprising that they wonder why there was no consultation ahead of time.

There are good and bad locations for much-needed social housing, and stereotyping those who need it is inappropriate. But such concerns need to be discussed in advance, and there was a time when they would have been. Plans would have been clearly laid out, the community would have provided input, and a decision made accordingly.

Consultation now comes after housing decisions have been made rather than before. The excuse is that there’s no time to do it the right way. One can’t help but suspect it also conveniently avoids dealing with objections.

It won’t change until local leaders stand up to BC Housing and insist on proper process. Unfortunately, there’s no sign of that happening.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (9483 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Proper consultation could avoid objections to social housing

  1. I have copied & pasted an email that I sent to 3 of the councillors who voted for this development.
    “ I found this instructional page on the CoK web site.
    With respect to the newly approved development on Kingston Ave., my thoughts have turned to the kids from a couple of daycares who are taken to Westmount Park to play on and near the slide and swings & hobby horse.

    The kids are under supervision, of course, but if this newly approved development is like other similar sites in the municipality, there are bound to be one or more incidents where contaminated needles are deposited in adjacent areas.  Kids of daycare age cannot read and would not understand the instructions on this web site.  However, their caregivers would be able to read and understand the instructions.
    Since you people were part of approving this site, would you be so kind as to take steps in advising the daycares in the area of the steps to be taken in the event that contaminated needles might be discovered by any of the kids who were taken to Westmount Park to enjoy a safe area to play?

    Would you have discussed if it is the responsibility of the Parks Department to ensure the public park be kept free of discarded needles?  Would you have discussed the provision of sharps containers near the swings and picnic table area (where the daycare children generally play)?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughtfulness for all users of the public park and children’s playground equipment.

    John Noakes,
    resident of Westmount subdivision “

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