Westward Independent

The Comical Conundrum of Bill 44 & 47

by Westward Independent
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A Satirical Saga

 

By: Taylor Wilson, Staff Writer at The Westward Independent

 

In the picturesque expanse of Canada, where the land stretches far beyond the horizon, the notion of cramped living quarters seems almost a comical paradox. Yet, here we are, staring down the barrel of Bills 44 and 47, legislation that ostensibly seeks to solve our housing woes by championing a future of “sardine-can living.” It’s a situation that might leave the average Canadian scratching their head, pondering how we arrived at this juncture.

 

Let’s set the scene: Over the past few years, local builders and developers have been ensnared in a Kafkaesque nightmare of bureaucratic red tape. Reports have surfaced, painting a grim picture of hundreds of permits for family homes and subdivisions languishing in a procedural purgatory. This quagmire of delay has undeniably contributed to the current housing crisis that plagues our communities. The response from on high? Bills 44 and 47.

 

Bill 44, or the Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act, 2023, envisions a future where our neighborhoods transform. The traditional single-family home, once a staple of Canadian living, is now seen as a relic of the past. In its place, the bill mandates an increase in density, pushing municipalities to allow for the construction of three to four housing units on lots previously zoned for single homes or duplexes. The aim? To create “small-scale multi-unit housing” in areas that were once the domain of backyard barbecues and tree swings.

 

Bill 47, the Housing Statutes (Transit-Oriented Areas) Amendment Act, 2023, takes a similar tack. It requires municipalities to designate areas within close proximity to transit stations as hotbeds for development, insisting on a minimum density that leaves little room for the spacious living Canadians have come to cherish. The rationale is clear: to foster walkable communities and reduce dependency on cars. A noble goal, certainly, but one that seems to overlook the practical realities of Canadian geography and lifestyle.

 

The irony of these legislative efforts is palpable. In a country celebrated for its vast open spaces, the solution to our housing crisis appears to be a push towards densification that might make sense in the cramped confines of a European city but feels out of place in the Canadian context. It’s a narrative that speaks to a broader disconnect between the lofty ideals of environmental stewardship and the pragmatic needs of everyday Canadians.

 

Critics argue that this shift towards high-density living is a band-aid solution, a way to paper over the deeper issues of inefficient government processes and a lack of foresight in urban planning. The years lost to bureaucratic inertia and red tape have exacerbated a housing shortage that now, in a twist of irony, is being addressed by cramming more people into less space.

This approach raises questions about the quality of life and the very nature of the Canadian dream. The vision of a home with a yard, space for children to play, and a sense of community feels increasingly like a distant memory, replaced by the prospect of living cheek by jowl in “micro-dense communities.”

 

As we grapple with these changes, it’s essential to ask what we value in our living spaces and communities. The push for density and walkability must be balanced with the realities of Canadian life, where the car remains king, and the expanse of the land invites us to spread out, not squeeze tighter.

 

In the end, Bills 44 and 47 represent a crossroads for Canadian housing policy. As we ponder the path forward, one thing is clear: the solutions to our housing crisis must reflect the vastness of our country and the aspirations of its people, not just the narrow corridors of power where these bills were conceived.

 

https://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/csj-sjc/pl/charter-charte/c47.html
https://www.leg.bc.ca/content/data%20-%20ldp/Pages/42nd4th/1st_read/PDF/gov44-1.pdf

 

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