Somebody, anybody, please help these people!
This is absolutely ridiculous. I have been living in Whistler for eight years — and grew up in Vancouver — and I have never seen this town in worse shape. I am witnessing long-term vital residents of this town receiving notices from their landlords to vacate their rental units in order for the owner to significantly increase rent and make an extra buck (who can blame them; everybody has to pay there mortgage).
Not only is this a crisis, but these individuals are now forced to find affordable accommodation, which at this point in the season is non-existent. When I hear friends that have been here for more than five years saying, “Well I guess I am going to move back to Ontario,” or “move down to Vancouver because I can’t find a place to live,” it’s not right.
I know what you’re thinking: awesome, one less Leafs fan to deal with. But this is wrong. We haven’t even had a real influx of seasonal workers come to town yet.
This problem is only going to get worse in the next month, and even worse as we move in to the Olympic season. Now that the temporary ghetto (the Phoenix Project) has been scrapped, where are these people supposed to live? Obviously once our seasonal influx arrives and realizes that there is no accommodation they will pack up and move to one of the other up and coming resort towns in B.C. — where housing is easier to find and cost of living is substantially reduced. Once this happens, how are we supposed to fill all of our seasonal positions in an already extremely short staffed town?
Maybe it’s time for VANOC to release the number of residences they are currently over paying for and give them back to the public and stop driving up the rent all around town. What is all of this for? Four weeks of Games a year and a half from now? Who cares, we have a crisis on our hands and when long-term residents are packing up and moving you have to question yourself… what is it all for?
This problem needs to be fixed… now!
I suggest anyone who can’t find a place to live start sending your e-mails directly to our mayor, Ken Melamed, and let him know how long you’ve been in town and that action must be taken now. Perhaps this will assist our council to comprehend the magnitude of the problem and to stop ignoring the issue.