Under ICLEI’s program private property is eventually to be done away with as it contributes to a “concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice, if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable.” Therefore those municipalities that embrace The Program look at various ways of downsizing lots, dividing older lots, rezoning and building new homes upward. Stack ‘em and pack ‘em in is ICLEI’s agenda.
And St. Albert is developing right on target with The Program. Check out the cereal boxes being erected in the northwestern part of the city. Upright wannabe McMansions on tiny lots with a lot of wasted space being used by stairways that lead to the next cramped level. At least the cumulative square footage sounds impressive to the uninitiated buyer.
Let’s look at this realistically though. Historically, what is of most value is land. What gets built on the land enhances property value. Lose that asset because of some misfortune, you still own the land.
Owning real estate or other forms of property empowers an individual. The more the individual owns, the more economic security one has enabling one to be more responsible in one’s personal life (i.e. family), and in one’s community. Take it away, reduce its size or put restrictions on it and the individual not only loses out on personal wealth, but becomes increasingly reliant on government and its whims.
Active ICLEI’s “Smart Growth” followers, Councillor Heron and Mayor Crouse, enthusiastically advocate diminishing personal wealth. Promoting smaller properties in newer districts and changing the face of graceful, established neighbours by rezoning them for multiple lots and multiple family homes is supported by both individuals.
Indoctrinating young families that children will have plenty to do outside of their stamp-sized concrete lots and encouraging mature adults to sell and downsize from their spacious homes so that those properties can be rezoned are excellent ways in lowering personal wealth and limiting choices and individual freedom. All for the growing collective.
It is easy to understand that developers hop on the “smart growth” gravy train. After all, business is business. And when they find easy, pliable political targets, who can blame them for aiming and shooting for the obvious.
“Urban villages” and theme developments are a part of The Program. Regardless of the name attached to it, any high density urban mixed use development would have ICLEI’s approval. Another excellent avenue for developers to pursue. Make no mistake about their advertised benefits though. These concepts promote further restriction of an individual’s freedom of movement. Incrementation is the name of the game.
Rezoning older neighbourhoods to accommodate this “healthy mix” of residential possibilities devalues property without compensating existing property owners. Long time residents of Akinsdale and Erin Ridge are unfortunately already experiencing this and although they are being given a voice, they are not being heard. It doesn’t follow “The Program’s” vision.
Incrementally dictating how private property owners use their land diminishes the owner’s investment even further. This can be easily noted through the various bylaws approved and passed by council over the last few years.
As long as residents can not find the respect for their property rights and continually vote in those who are willing to abuse those rights, the path to ICLEI’s decimation of wealth and independence will be closer with each successive insult individuals, who revere The Program, throw at St. Albert.