I am writing in response to the article that appeared in your paper on Dec. 19, entitled “City council will ask province to nix Bill 7, consult with developers.” In that article, referring to the definition of affordable housing, Mayor Shari Decter Hirst is quoted as saying “What’s affordable for a senior on a fixed income is very different than what’s affordable to the president of the real estate association.”
I know that part of politics is all about rhetoric and throw away comments. However, as president of the Brandon Real Estate Board, I am unsure how to feel about being used as the example in the mayor’s comparison. The position of president of the not for profit Brandon Real Estate Board does not quite equate to say, a doctor or mayor.
I don’t mean to make light of the affordable housing issue. Having been involved in the real estate industry since 1996, I have seen first-hand the increase in housing costs over that time.
However, to ask the private sector to change all their business models to accommodate Bill 7, and put pressure on the rest of the buying public, does not seem to me to be a viable alternative or a long-term solution.
I believe that the community we live in will continue to work together for solutions for this problem without requiring provincial legislation that will not only limit but also make housing more expensive in the end.
I was present when Bill 7 was discussed in council chambers on that Monday evening. I believe Michael Barrett, the Brandon Real Estate Board past-president and Political Action Committee chair, put forward our views and a viable funding alternative by reallocating the land transfer tax very eloquently.
It is an unfortunate fact that not everyone who wants to, can afford to own a house. However, there are those in our community who could afford to purchase a home, but prefer to rent or lease. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to call it “affordable shelter” than “affordable housing.”
Merry Christmas and a happy 2013 to all.
Sandy Donald, president
Brandon Real Estate Board