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Send your letter to the editor via email to Please included your first and last name, address, and phone number.

LETTER: Affordable housing needed to address climate change

Daily travel requires energy and creates pollution

Dear Editor:

In most North American large cities housing has become prohibitively expensive.

Those working in low pay service sectors or financially struggling students can’t live within walking or cycling distance to work or school. They are forced to live far away because that’s all they can afford. Consequently they must travel great distances, turning a 10-minute exercise into a 90-minute energy-intensive marathon.

READ ALSO: Lack of affordable housing leaves post-secondary students scrambling in Kelowna

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Travel by public transit or by vehicles (gas or electric) consumes energy and creates pollution that is warming our planet.

Why do we have to travel so much? Because our cities do not promote local communities. Property developers call the shots and they aren’t that interested in creating liveable communities; they are interested in maximizing profit.

Highest profit comes from high price condo towers crammed together. Less profitable retail space is shunted to the fringe (think big box retailers). To obtain food and other essentials means a trip to the outskirts.

So you have a bizarre situation where low income people must commute to city cores while high income earners need to commute to the outskirts. All of this travel requires energy, creates global warming pollution and is a frustrating waste of time.

Even more absurd is the push to use energy-gobbling electric autonomous helicopters as a solution to transport the well off and avoid traffic snarls.

The root cause is our inability or unwillingness to create livable cities that minimize transportation. Electrifying our transport systems to move away from burning fossil fuels may actually be detrimental to tackling this root cause.

Many will be placated thinking that they have done their part so basic structural changes to our cities are not needed.

Steve Burke

West Kelowna

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affordable housingClimate changeLetter to the Editor