Editorial: Open the doors to growth

Harrison just one of the many small communities that will face inevitable growth in coming years

Over the next few weeks, Harrison Hot Springs council has a tough decision in front of them. They’ll vote whether to allow a change to the Official Community Plan that could help pave the way for the Kingma brothers to build a 26-unit townhouse complex in the green space along Hot Springs Road. (See page 2)

Tough call, and the intense discussion across the council table on Monday night showed that at least they’re putting some heavy thought into the pros and cons of such a development.

On one hand, there is green space to protect.

On the other hand, development is a necessary side of municipal business. Without it, tax rates will rise to feed the coffers. And at the end of the day, it always comes down to dollars.

So why close the doors to new housing choices? Is it to keep families out and maintain a retirement community? Let’s face it. People want to live there. The view is divine, the neighbourhoods impeccable, and the atmosphere — somewhat sophisticated.

Hundreds of thousands of people visit the tiny community every year, and whether they’re walking the streets, pedaling around or driving their cars, they are surely seeing the For Sale signs on virtually every street.

With views like that, it’s hard not to daydream about a carefree lifestyle.

And for years, that daydream included phrases like “when we retire…”

But times are changing. Services are expanding, the world has gone wireless, and living outside of a city centre is becoming less challenging.

And yes, that means more and more people are going to be eyeing up small towns like Harrison — not just for retirement living, but for their young and growing families, as outposts for their home-based businesses, or even as secondary homes.

To have an option that’s larger than a bread box and smaller than a ‘B.C. Box’ is going to be desirable to many of those buyers.

Some will have children. Some won’t. Some will be well off, others will be working toward that goal. Some will be retired. Some will commute. Some may even bring their businesses.

Just like the current mix of residents today.