Re: City considers office conversion policy, The Record, Oct. 21.
New Westminster eyes changing biz space to residential? They just completed a "jam it down the throats of taxpayers loan" to build an office tower above the civic centre which was, in their eyes, to fulfill a shortage of office space downtown.
Coun. Jonathon Cote really likes the concept and the staff recommendations. "I think it was what council had in mind when we started talking about the topic" he claims. News to me! Of course, as intelligent as Cote is, his mandate is to provide affordable housing and daycare from parking meters. That said, how can housing be affordable in the downtown area without subsidies? The average single family taxes, outside the downtown area, have escalated to a minimum of $400 per month to cover some of the ridiculous projects being introduced by this council, which tends to refer every issue to staff, as if it were they who were elected.
Coun. Jaimie McEvoy claims the length of time a building is vacant has a bearing on the viability of an office component is untrue. It's all about supply and demand, something that was overlooked when deciding to build commercial office space. One thing is for sure, if office space in the city-owned tower sits empty, this will allow them to convert it to residential. Most likely low rental, considering the numerous shelters surrounding the "Anvil."
If there is an over abundance of office space downtown which has prompted this move, I suggest staff make a recommendation to Council to hold off building the $40 million office tower until the demand is there.
John Ashdown, New Westminster