This staff house at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn has beds for 10. During peak season

Tofino businesses brace for housing shortage

Tuff facing shortage of seasonal housing as busy season looms

  • Apr. 19, 2016 8:00 a.m.

 

Ryan Orr is about to enter his fifth summer as general manager at Jamie’s Rainforest Inn, and his laundry list of jobs to do in preparation for peak season includes nearly doubling his staff roster.

While recruiting dependable new hires can be trying, Orr says it’s finding appropriate accommodation that has always been the most pressing issue for managers on the West Coast.

“Sadly, they live in cars, they live in tents, they live in the field over at Crab Apple. They live on people’s couches. A lot of times, I don’t know exactly where they live,” he told the Westerly News at a recent lunch presentation from the Whistler Housing Authority on affordable housing.

“I think a lot of employers in town would tell you the same,” he said.

“They don’t necessarily want to know where their staff live as long as they come to work.”

Orr said that Jamie’s Rainforest Inn generally only hires people they can comfortably place in their staff accommodation or who have already found a stable place to live.

But, on the assumption that his 35 year-round staff can find their own accommodation—some of them can’t—that would still leave him with 10 seasonal employees without housing as the Inn only keeps beds for 10 staff.

“Nothing is actually happening yet and it’s just getting worse and worse. We’re certainly not on track to solve the problem this summer and probably not for the next two or three,” said Orr.

The district of Tofino has earmarked lot DC 114 behind the community hall as a preferred location for potential long-term, affordable housing development.

Over the next two months, a full-time consultant will work within the community to identify stakeholders and funding opportunities for a viable seasonal and affordable housing plan.

Orr made the recommendation that there needs to be an organization established, much like the Whistler Housing Authority, whose sole purpose is to focus on housing.

“I don’t know if we’ll be able to get the same funding model that Whistler has where it’s all funded by developers. But, I think if it’s just left to council and district staff alone, they have so many other things to deal with, I don’t think it will happen. There needs to be somebody committed,” he said.

As Tofino wades into what could very well be the busiest summer to date, Orr suggests those seeking seasonal housing go about it the old fashioned way.

“The only thing I ever tell anybody is it comes down to who you know and word-of-mouth,” he said, “Few people will actually find something through postings. If you are looking, tell as many people as you possibly can that you’re looking and hopefully, when someone hears of something, they’ll remember you.”

 

 

Just Posted

District of Ucluelet and Yuułuʔiłʔath First Nation announce fire protection agreement

“It’s a fantastic start about helping our neighbours.”

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Risk of ‘deadly avalanches’ leads to warning for B.C.’s south coast

Weak layer of snow on Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland could trigger an avalanche

Vancouver measles outbreak prompts vaccine vigilance on Island

No cases here yet, but Island health authorities push measles vaccinations - and not just for kids

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

Pope’s sex abuse prevention summit explained

It’s A high-stakes meeting designed to impress on Catholic bishops the global problem

B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Girl heard saying ‘Help my Dad’ in suspicious radio message on Vancouver Island

Police asking for help following mysterious signals from somewhere between Comox and Sayward

Two more measles cases confirmed in Vancouver

It brings the number of total cases within the city connected to the outbreak to ten

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Most Read