This piece (“’It’s grim’: Whistler’s housing crisis continues to deteriorate ahead of another winter,” Pique, Nov. 17) was a great deep dive into the ever-worsening rental housing situation in the Sea to Sky. The young workers profiled and the incredibly challenging position they find themselves in trying to secure any sort of housing should be a wake-up call for everyone in our region.
The lack of housing available for those working on mountain, in service positions at local businesses, tradespeople, young families, and those on reduced incomes is a real threat to the viability of our towns.
This has been stated again and again but it remains true: Without any rental housing available at prices people can afford, we will continue to see reduced services, businesses closing on days they would normally be open, and the on-mountain experience deteriorating. We are a world-class, year-round destination, and as our service levels drop, those choosing where to take their holidays or to relocate to work in a mountain town will consider other destinations.
The housing situation becomes more critical every day. It is time for the municipalities of Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton to work together to enact immediate short-term solutions to this crisis. A good start would be to enact a housing roundtable comprised of renters, landlords and representatives of all three local governments to try and find short-term solutions. The suggested municipally approved areas for campers and RVs deserves immediate consultation and implementation. Restrictions on short-term rentals and tax credits for those providing long-term rentals must also be considered. Renters are pleading for support. Landlords are raising rents as high as the market will bear. Something needs to give before our communities break.
Tania Chiasson // Pemberton