One more in the African bus!
by Contributed - Story: 76883
Jun 22, 2012 / 5:00 am
Jun 22, 2012 / 5:00 am
When my wife and I travel to Africa, or quite frankly, any developing country, it is always somewhat shocking to see how many people can fit into a small mini-van, about the size of a Dodge Caravan. More shocking is the speed at which these public transit vehicles will careen around the countryside.
It was while I was following a similar van last year in Nairboi that I nearly launched my mother-in-law into space. The interesting thing in Kenya is you look after yourself on the roads. If there are rules, clearly nobody else understands them. I find it exhilarating as a rally driver. The more interesting thing is the random placement of speed bumps on highways where traffic is traveling at 120 kph. It was exactly at one of those speed-bumps where our little rented Suzuki Jeep bucked my mother-in-law into the ceiling with such ferocity that I reached for the first aid kit.
When it comes to municipal approvals for development there are more than a few speed bumps along the way. But for the sake of affordable housing and greener land use planning, we need to make the use of tools to increase density a priority.
A few years ago I wrote an article about Wet Kelowna’s decision to take steps to make it easier for people to “legally” have a basement suite and now it appears as though Kelowna is following suit.
It is a “suite” deal for a first time homeowner who needs some income to help with the mortgage. In my opinion I think we will also see an increasing number of young couples getting together to share the purchase of their first home and the requirement for a legally approved secondary living space in the home is critical. It is also good timing as mortgage lending rules for first time home buyers have tightened up once again.
The concern for the municipality goes beyond “green ethics” and “housing affordability” of course. For them it is a legal issue. In the instance of an emergency in the home, the municipal planning and building staff need to ensure that the “suite” meets current building codes which are in place to protect the occupants, so I, for one am pleased to see changes are afoot.
The only people who tend to stifle changes like this are the NIMBY’s who don’t want any change next door, but it is time to give our kids a break. Aside from the fact that we will see greener urban planning principles and lower costs of house ownership, it is a better use of our limited land supply and infrastructure... so how many people can we fit in a legal basement suite? Just one more!
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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.
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