This week, selected items and observations from a short trip to Victoria.
The Victoria I grew up in was a product of the 1940s and ’50s. Literally: this was the house my father had built in 1946 on return from the war. Cost: $7,000, with a Veteran’s loan. (In 2017 dollars: $102,000)
It is astonishing to me how much of that era is still intact. Almost nothing has changed on the surrounding blocks, not even the corner store down the street.
Bringing my Vancouver eyes, I can see that era is coming to an end. Land values are rising as the decades-old housing stock decays. In some neighbourhoods, like Cadboro and Cordova Bays, it means the original house, regardless of condition or suitability, must be demolished and replaced with a development that maximizes the allowable density and provides all the amenities expected for million-dollar-plus accommodation.
The same conundrum: the loss of more affordable housing (small houses on large lots, especially), a change in scale and character of the community, discomfort with speculation and empty homes – but a resistance to anything that might lower property values or tax the spectacular gains that one generation lucked out on even as they complain that their children can’t afford to live in the neighbourhoods they grew up in.
This is not the Victoria that established residents want, but it looks increasingly like the one they will be getting.