Monday, December 13, 2010

A man's home is his castle

For most of us, our home is our safe haven and our one and only major investment. Most of us maintain and improve homes under our ownership because it provides safety and shelter for our families and because it is our only investment. Anything that remotely threatens the "castle" threatens the man and thus the man must defend his castle.

Fear, and particularly fear of the unknown, is a powerful emotion.

In Saturday's SP (Dec. 11/10) the report on the city's proposed policy to tackle NIMBYism says that we must remove the emotion when dealing with decisions to alter existing neighbourhoods by introducing development of anything from wind turbines to youth homes. I don't think that any policy can eliminate fear of potential negative impact to the "castle" and by extension, its occupants.

Youth homes seem to be the biggest factor in these development issues. With the daily reporting of the increase of violent youth crime, it is understandable why homeowners are reluctant to open up their neighbourhoods to recovering young offenders, even though these homes may not house these types of offenders.

The proposed policy, as reported, does not seem to contain wording that would work to alleviate the fear. When the policy states that concentration in any neighbourhood will be "discouraged" and consistency with neighbourhood "considered" it feeds the fear. Perhaps "discouraged" should be "restricted" and "considered" should be "mandated."

The "good neighbour agreements," described as voluntary pacts established to address emerging issues, do not leave the impression that any issues will actually be resolved. Perhaps a mediation process with a binding outcome would provide more comfort and acceptability.

I personally have not heard of any serious problems arising in neighbourhoods that have established these homes. Nor have I heard of a decline in property value as a result of this change to a neighbourhood.

Just zone all new areas to include provision for such development. If you buy your home in a neighbourhood already zoned for that purpose, then by extension you have agreed to inclusion of youth, senior care and day care homes as part of your residential make-up. There is no argument to be had or emotional decision to be made regarding zoning amendments.


  1. The residential homes listed in the SP is not 100% accurate. They did not include homes such as safe houses for youth. Pleasant Hill has the Safe House and Male YOuth Hostel. What constitutes a care home? P Hill or Riversdale is not even on the list. I echo you sentiments about the homes.

  2. I stand to be corrected, but the zoning of carehomes in new residential areas doesn't preclude the placement of additional homes in that neighbourhood outside of the zoned areas.

  3. What is you point Sean? Is it that an area could be saturated with homes by strategically placing homes around different zones?

  4. Just clarifying the record based on Elaine's last paragraph in case anyone reading might form the wrong conclusion.

    The proposed by-law changes won't limit carehomes to the pre-designated lots in new neighbourhoods. So there would still be the chance that a carehome zoning application could be made for another house in such a neighbourhood.


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