Pique n' Your Interest 

You wouldn’t believe me unless you were forced to try it

This is a yarn about the desperate need for more employee housing.

Firstly, I’ll admit that my house finding mission started too close to the winter season but I had no choice because there was a possibility that I was going to have to leave Canada. As it turned out, I didn’t have to leave and so began my mission to find some long-term accommodation.

But it wasn’t long before I realized this would not be a mission to find a home, it would be a rude awakening through which I would experience, and hear a lot about, bigotry, stupidity and utter desperation.

As with any house hunt it started with the phone and e-mail, and I work at the Pique so it’s not like I ever got the classified advertisements late.

During the first week of my mission I made about 25 calls – one person got back to me. This person wanted me to sign a one-year lease – even though I had no idea who he was and vice versa – in a house where we would use the same front door to go in and out and there was no kitchen. He said they had a "kitchenette" but it wasn’t a kitchen, and there was no where to sit down and eat.

The price: $750 a month and he had had 250 phone calls about it in three days! I decided it was too small, but I’m sure someone else signed the papers by 10 a.m. the next day.

Back to the phone and the e-mail. It wasn’t long before my price limit went out the window and I was calling anyone who had anything below $950, despite the fact that I could not afford anything near this price.

Then, at about 9:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, I cottoned onto a great house in a nice location. I turned up and the sub-letter was interviewing someone else about the room. Then he sits down and tells me that he’s had a couple offer him about $400 more than the advertised price of the apartment. This means that this sub-letter gets to live in Whistler basically for free because he happened to be in charge of the lease when someone moved out of an apartment.

Not surprisingly, he called me back and said he’d given the room to the couple. Back to the e-mail and phone calls.

At this point I was willing to live with a couple of giraffes and dead rhino for $250 a night, so I called everything that’s available in Whistler. No one calls or e-mails back, so I call again. Then finally a woman picks up the phone and says "yes, we’ve got a room… but we usually like to rent to Japanese."

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