Editorial: Situation dire for Cowichan residents looking to rent

the vacancy rate in B.C. is a tiny 1.4 per cent

This is why we need both affordable housing and the kind of apartment building being constructed on Paddle Road in North Cowichan.

A report from the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation released this week shows that B.C. has some of the lowest rental vacancy rates in Canada, and the highest average rents.

Some perspective: the vacancy rate in B.C. is a tiny 1.4 per cent, with the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment soaring to $1,387 per month. That’s higher than in Toronto and Alberta.

About one-quarter of municipalities in B.C. have an even lower vacancy rate of under one per cent. The only way it could be worse is if you were in Charlottetown, P.E.I., with a minuscule 0.2 per cent vacancy rate.

So the picture is this: if you can manage to find a place to rent, the owner or manager is calling all the shots and the renter must agree to pretty much anything in order to get a roof over their head. And it’s going to take at least half of most people’s paycheques. Think about being a single parent trying to afford that, or a senior on a fixed income. What if you have a big family and need more than two bedrooms? The price just keeps climbing. Then imagine if you have a pet and are trying to find somewhere. It’s a nightmare.

One of the Citizen reporters remarked that you pretty much have to know someone to find a place in the Cowichan Valley.

So while our municipalities need to look at managing projects like the Paddle Road construction in a way that’s much less of a hassle to existing residents (they can’t have streets essentially impassible for months at a time), that kind of planning is certainly possible, and the housing is desperately needed.

Those who can’t afford to, or for whatever reason don’t want to buy a home, still need and deserve to have a roof over their heads. They also need and deserve to have palatable options so they don’t get stuck in terrible and even abusive situations, but are forced to stay because their only other choice is, literally, the street.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Strong cast tells the story of how justice solves all problems in ‘Measure for Measure’

Plenty of passion with dollops of comedy to leaven the story as Shakespeare Festival continues

Sarah Simpson Column: Good deeds save the day

Is it fair to call it the dog days of summer? I… Continue reading

Driver airlifted after head-on crash on TCH in Duncan Friday

Two people were seriously injured in a head-on crash on the TCH in Duncan yesterday night.

Join the fun at Rotary’s Ogilvie memorial golf tournament Aug. 23

Besides golfing with friends, you are helping fund worthwhile programs

British Columbia Chronicles: New Hope for B.C.’s most historic sawmill town

“New mill, new optimism after years of forestry decline in Port Alberni”—Megan… Continue reading

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Most Read