The rental-housing crisis continues to grow in Pemberton. With the recent announcement of a crackdown on illegal secondary suites in Tiyata Village there will be more community members desperately seeking a place to live.
This crisis is affecting your friends, neighbours, and employees. Families are paying 40 to 50 per cent of their income towards housing. Seniors are anxiously waiting on the Lions Villa housing waitlist in hopes of securing an apartment they can afford. The Radius rental building has an even longer waitlist. Without more dedicated rental units available for those working in Pemberton, we continue stumbling down the same path we’ve been trying to navigate over the last decade.
Our housing crisis has now spawned a parallel crisis. Does anyone wonder why McDonald’s drive-thru is sometimes closed after 3 p.m.? Or wonder why their favourite restaurant is closing earlier? Or why the other businesses in town have reduced hours? This reduction in service is due to an unprecedented labour shortage. Businesses are struggling to get through their days with fewer employees than they’ve ever had.
The housing crisis and unprecedented labour shortage are intertwined. If we cannot recruit people to work in our businesses due to their inability to find rental housing, our village will continue to suffer. We have a unique opportunity to request mayor and council make sure Pemberton can securely house those who want to live and work here.
At the end of August, council will hear an update on the rezoning application for the Harrow Road affordable housing project. Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS) is partnering with BC Housing to get this 63-unit rental building approved and ready for tenants in 2025. They need our help to let mayor and council know there is community support and need for this project.
This project will provide long-term, secure housing for seniors, those with disabilities, and families like mine. Some of the units available will be offered to those on disability or old-age security benefits, some rents will be geared to income, and 30 per cent will be market-rate rentals.
The ground floor of this project will become the new home for SSCS. Their community support programs and food bank are being utilized more than ever. If you support the Harrow Road project, please email Pemberton mayor and council. There are tenants in our community who are fearful of speaking out so as not to call attention to themselves or their current living situation. If this fear does not highlight the seriousness of this crisis, I don’t know what will. We must show mayor and council there is strong community support for this project.
SSCS needs a permanent home in our community. So does my family, and many other people who love this valley and want to work here. And you hold the power to make this happen.