Editorial | Housing: The Times are a Changing

I recently took a trip down memory lane and went to visit the neighbourhood I grew up in – Salisbury Ave. in Northside Port Coquitlam. Back in the day, the neighbourhood was filled with single-family homes on big lots. It was a great place to grow up. Our backyard was so big that we were able to grow all the vegetables we needed for the year. Our garden took up 2/3 of the backyard and provided green beans, corn, strawberries, carrots, and a variety of other fresh foods.

As I walked down Salisbury Ave., I saw that our old home was gone along with four neighbouring homes. The homes were replaced with beautiful townhomes and offered multiple units per site. At first, I must admit, I was surprised and a little disappointed to see that the home I had grown up in was gone. But as I continued to walk around the new complex that replaced it and my then neighbours homes, I was pleased by what had been built.

Where our home once stood housing for a family of 5, are now a row of townhomes in its place. Instead of one family living on a piece of land, there were now at least four families reaping the benefits of a good neighbourhood close to schools. I mused at the great use of the properties.

Times have changed and so must our way of thinking about housing. We need to start looking at it differently and adjust for the increased population in our region. We see high density beginning to build around transit hubs but are lacking in family housing on the main corridors that connect these hubs. My old neighbourhood is a great example of how family-oriented dwellings can create high-density housing options and maintain a sense of community.

Port Moody City Council recently approved higher density and rental housing in Suter Brook Village. A short walk to the Skytrain station and close to shopping, this is a smart move for the area. Yes, there are some challenges as in any new development that need to be addressed but building density close to transit just makes sense.

As well, a few months ago, Coquitlam approved a major redevelopment in the Burquitlam area which includes a new YMCA recreation complex and more rental units. Another move in the right direction for the Tri-Cities. I would like to see our communities continue to make decisions that allow residents to live, work, and play here.

I have three children in their 20’s who have dreams of planting roots in their hometown. Unfortunately, they don’t see this in the cards with the pricing and inventory as bleak as it is today.

Buildings like the ones mentioned above and others coming forward give people hope, especially for the younger generation struggling to get into the market.

We must change the way we think about housing and density to accommodate the regional growth and maintain our sense of community.