Nothing has polarized the community of Harrison Hot Springs as much as the debate over housing. While there are residents who see the need for affordable housing, just as many are happy with the status quo.
Still others are wondering why a green area would even be considered for housing when there are more ‘urban’ areas that could be redeveloped.
And the division between all of them is about to get even more obvious; this week, council moved ahead with rezoning a four-acre strip of property to allow for a two-acre townhouse development.
This is a cherished piece of property, as it contains a beautiful woodlands that greets visitors as they arrive. If all continues to go smoothly for the developers who now own that land, in a couple of years that woodland will be gone and instead visitors will be greeted with the image of somewhat affordable housing.
That, it would seem, is a good thing.
In destination areas such as Whistler, Jasper and Niagara Falls, townhouses offer flexibility that single family dwellings cannot, while providing more livable space than a condo will allow. Even just the image that the community is affordable could ramp up interest in real estate.
Most of all, affordable housing means families could move in, comfortably, and be home owners instead of renters. Families who stay year round and contribute to society.
It means that retirees with active lifestyles and visiting grandchildren can have the comfort of lawn space without the burden of heavy maintenance.
True, it will also mean that trees will come down, and it will mean that more housing will encroach on the Miami.
But instead of trees coming down to accommodate a single family home on a sprawling one-acre lot, they would be coming down to accommodate 26 homes.
Like many other small towns are finding, if growth is truly a necessity, then higher density is an equation that seems to make the most sense.