Tek Manhas, seeking re-election for his second term on council in North Cowichan, has challenged mayor candidate Rob Douglas’ claim that he would provide effective leadership to make housing options accessible in North Cowichan.
Manhas says that Douglas has been a champion of public housing projects on Sherman Road and on Willow Street in Chemainus that remain stuck in the concept stage after seven years.
“We have given them (project proponents) the lands and other goodies but still no shovels in the ground,” Manhas said at a recent all candidates meeting. “We need to incentivize our development community and local builders. Governments should not be in the building business.
“I can guarantee all of you here that if North Cowichan had worked with our local builders, we would have these units built already.”
Manhas claimed Douglas is driven by ideology and seems incapable of taking a pragmatic approach to solving the housing shortage. Douglas, Manhas said, is part of the previous council’s majority that refused to approve any new development projects until the dying days of the previous term. In fact, Douglas voted against one of the two applications before council a couple ofweeks ago.
Earlier in the current term Douglas attempted to actually ‘un-zone’ an already approved housing development, as Mayor Siebring notes on his blog piece (HERE), saying, “Rob Douglas was trying to scuttle a 120+ unit affordable housing project – a modular home park – on the highway near the Fuller Lake Arena by making a motion to down zone that property. This would have disallowed the development.”