Local NDP MP Gord Johns believes the federal government must take action on rural housing woes.

MP Gord Johns says government must address Tofino housing crisis

"We want all Canadians to have a good quality life but right now, with the housing affordability, it’s not a reality," Johns said.

The West Coast is in the midst of a housing crisis as seasonal workers are finding no availability and locals are finding no affordability.

Housing costs are skyrocketing across the country and West Coast MP Gord Johns believes the federal government must step in before a generation is lost to overwork.

“People are working way too hard just to have a roof over their heads and they become slaves, really, to the top and that’s where inequality has really taken foot,” Johns told the Westerly News.

“We need to fix it because it’s unjust to a generation. The millennials are coming into this new realm of reality and we need to make sure they’ve got affordability and they can enjoy life. We want all Canadians to have a good quality life but right now, with the housing affordability, it’s not a reality.”

He said the federal government needs to act because most municipalities cannot handle the crisis on their own.

“It’s been on the backburner for many communities because they’ve also had to grapple with the downloading of infrastructure,” he said. “They collect 8 per cent of the taxes yet they’re responsible for 60 per cent of all infrastructure.”

He said the Federal Government’s recently announced study to look into housing costs in Toronto and Vancouver is a good start but smaller communities can’t be overlooked.

“We’re in a crisis because it needs leadership…[The] federal government needs to step up; they need to step up and take leadership on affordable housing and not just in Canada’s largest cities,” he said.

“Where I will be a voice is ensuring that this government doesn’t just see the priority in Vancouver and Toronto for affordable housing and that the needs for affordable housing are affecting even remote, small communities like Tofino and Ucluelet.”

Johns said he recently met with Tofino mayor Josie Osborne and was inspired by her commitment to figure out solutions.

“The mayor is determined to deal with affordable housing,” he said.

“Im highly anticipating and excited to hear what they come up with but we know it needs some urgent action. It can’t wait any longer and I know, from talking to the mayor, she’s made it a priority…We’ve all seen that, when the mayor is committed to something, she’s working hard on it.”

He acknowledged Tofino’s recent efforts to rein in vacation rentals in an effort to boost residential housing options but suggested the community’s median income is around $25,000 and many local homeowners rely on rental incomes to pay their mortgages.

“Even if you’re earning $50,000 a year on the West Coast, it’s very difficult to qualify for a mortgage and get into the housing market, so people are forced to do this to make ends meet,” he said.

He added the district must enforce its bylaws and ensure every vacation rental has at least one permanent resident on site.

“The big violation and the big problem is when people rent out houses and they don’t have anyone living on site,” he said.

“That’s always been an issue for Tofino and it’s got to be local government that determines if it’s a priority and, if it is, how they’re going to take action because it’s not an easy thing to solve.”

He added bylaws around vacation rentals must be navigated at the local level.

“Municipalities have the ability and the bylaws to crack down on these issues, not the federal government,” he said.

“Communities can set targets. They can get innovative and creative and create tools and mechanisms to make affordability happen…Whistler’s done it, so why cant Tofino? I think there’s models out there where it could work.”

 

 

Just Posted

Organizers cancel 2019 Pacific Rim Whale Festival

Survey circulating to determine feasibility of revival.

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

Author presents wolf research in Tofino

Paula Wild surprised by polarized views of animals that are both loved and hated.

A cuddle and a coffee: Six Island towns named among Canada’s most cozy

Sidney, Campbell River, Courtenay, Parksville, Tofino and Ucluelet crack Expedia’s top 40

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Most Read