Open letter to Mike Racz, president Yukon Real Estate Association, re Yukon News story Takhini North Isn’t Enough: Realtors:
Mike Racz, in your opinionated and misleading interview with the Yukon News, were you speaking in your official capacity as president of the Yukon Real Estate Association? If so, this concerns me for several reasons.
First, I was alarmed by your callous disregard for residents’ appreciation of the natural areas in Whitehorse.
In the interview, you stated that the city planners “get shot down at just about every meeting by a handful of people who sit there and complain about everything, in regards to trying to save a moose path, or a beaver trail or whatever.
“Unfortunately, this is a city. They want it to be a city? Then let’s keep animals out of the city and let people live in the city. The animals can walk around the corner.”
Quite aside from the disrespectful tone of your remarks, I have to wonder how, as a realtor, you can overlook the fact that a lot of people choose to live here because they enjoy the lifestyle Whitehorse has to offer. A big part of that lifestyle involves hiking, strolling, berry picking, bird-watching, photography, skiing, mountain-biking, sledding and using gas-powered machines of various types to explore the natural places that surround us.
Every city has protected greenspace, and that greenspace is a big part of what makes cities pleasant places to live. In Greater Vancouver, as an example, there are parks and natural spaces in virtually every neighbourhood, and even people living in the poorest parts of the city are always within walking distance of a park or natural area.
Parks and wildlands are places where people can relax, breathe clean air, alleviate stress, pick berries and teach their children about nature.
Secondly, Racz, as president of the real estate association you are certainly aware of the annual cycle of housing sales in Whitehorse. Looking back over the past decade, the first few months of the year are always quietest, with housing sales picking up through the spring and peaking in the summer. These statistics are publicly available, and the pattern has nothing to do with the availability of lots.
There are few houses listed on MLS right now in the $200,000 to $400,000 range, and you claimed it is because of a lot shortage. When you said that, were you deliberately trying to mislead the public and the city? If so, does it not go against the code of ethics of your occupation?
There is a housing shortage in Whitehorse, but it is not a shortage of luxury homes. There is a shortage of affordable, quality rental housing. Racz, new lots with new homes will mostly be above $400,000 in market value, given the price of a new lot and the cost of building. These homes will do nothing to alleviate the housing crunch that is affecting lower-to-middle income earners.
For the record, Racz, I do not want to live in the city you have envisioned. It is ugly, lifeless and devoid of soul. If there aren’t enough houses for you to sell, maybe you’ll consider another occupation.
I’ve heard car sales can be quite lucrative.