Sorry! Or, yes to no housing

The why of another vote ‘against’ housing

(6 min read)

Dear Tent-and-Van-Dwelling Tofino Workers,

This is an apology.

In a momentous decision last Tuesday, council voted 4–2 to halt a 10.8-ha (26.7-acre) development application from Woodsmere Holdings that included 116 apartments (phase 1), a 48-unit motel (phase 2), and 282 other units including rental apartments, single-family lots, duplexes and four-plexes—all to be built out, things going well, over the next ten years.

Woodsmere Site Plan

Woodsmere site plan (concept)

That build won’t happen. Continue reading

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Innovation: a response

Why our little town seems stuck

8 min read

Apres Surf sign 2017-05-04

Tofino council (of which i am a member) received a heartfelt email a while ago, one i thought deserved a thoughtful response. It turned into more of an essay than i expected. First, here’s the email (abridged):

Dear Council,

I am writing to you today in hopes of receiving some answers to a few questions that have been keeping me awake at night. I am … unsettled by some of the changes happening within our beautiful, albeit endangered town. Continue reading

A plaza of possibility

The why of a vote “against” housing

On July 11, council heard an application from The Shore to begin a rezoning process to add “nightly rentals” as an approved use in CD-TS zone. We decided not to proceed, but were split on the vote, with four believing that turning residential housing (albeit high-end) into nightly rentals was not appropriate, two thinking the application had enough promise to at least move to the next stage.

I and one other councillor voted in favour of allowing the application to proceed. (There was no guarantee it would succeed, just that it would move forward in the multi-stage process.) I’ve been asked about why i voted as i did, in this time of housing shortage. Here’s my reasoning. Continue reading

Weedy wondering

I spent three weeks in Vancouver over Christmas. Everywhere i went, there seemed to be marijuana dispensaries unabashedly in evidence, despite uncertain legal status and an active bylaw crackdown. I was curious, because Tofino has received a few inquiries about starting one up, and the people i talk to think a dispensary or two would not jar Tofino’s image in either its own or the world’s eyes. Continue reading

Think housing (a spontaneous rant)

I just had one of those sparks of clarity, in which something i was clumsily trying to elucidate during today’s (5-hour!) council meeting suddenly took shape in my head. Tofino’s planner was introducing first reading (effectively, first draft) of part of our zoning bylaw — the all-powerful bylaw that dictates what an owner can and can’t do on their land. Continue reading