Build, build, build

One of the great ironies with the elections is all the promises and apparent responses there are to the country’s woes.

Every promise has a price and it never goes unnoticed, at least for us, that with every election cycle, the debt increases. Ontario’s debt alone is now approaching $450 billion. Ottawa? Try almost three times as much – around $1.2 trillion and up.

There are countless other struggles for Ontarians heading to the polls in less than a month. The inflation of basic necessities, exorbitant fuel prices, worries about health care, two years of what we consider a lost education, and mental health issues in the population are obvious examples. No easy answers emerge and without appearing as a complete opposite, if the solutions were so simple, they would have already been implemented.

No, we are in a complicated period. A very complicated time.

It is with this reference point that a column written by Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca for the Toronto Sun made us scratch our heads. It was a play about housing and its solution was to build, build, build.

Admittedly, it was a whiff, and all leaders at all levels of government seem determined to add their two cents to potential solutions. But solving the housing problem is not so easy and this current crisis did not happen overnight. Governments of all stripes have been responsible for years of neglecting housing stock and opportunity. Housing includes young starters and seniors requiring a transition from individual housing to an institutional setting. It’s a great discussion, not just a fluke.

Wellington County’s effort in Aboyne offers an example of how housing can be intertwined. If changes had been made with the continuum of care concept, literally dozens of homes would have become available for other people to buy or rent.

If the buyers in the market weren’t so enamored with the single-family home, much of the developed land could have been put to better use to meet the needs of tenants. That’s the big picture.

When Del Duca says build, build, build, one wonders where, where, where and with what?

Forced, in a sense, to stabilize this crisis without careful thought, other mistakes will be made. Farmland will be paved, as virgin fields are often the easiest to maintain. Streams accepting effluent will be taxed to the max, just to build houses. And do we really want to see a scenario where travel madness is promoted?

If this madness wasn’t enough, we also wonder where the supplies will come from. From time to time we consult with contractor friends and the cost of materials and labor costs are, in a word, appalling. If affordability is to be considered in this strategy, there must be a marked change in the cost of goods.

As this election period gathers momentum, insist on more than catchy slogans.

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For the next two weeks, the Advertiser will dedicate space to comments from provincial candidates on key issues affecting Ontario and the two ridings that intersect Wellington County. Watch weekly and vote wisely on June 2.

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