Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce executive director Lara Kemps, left, joins Andrew Hanson, Mayor Mayco Noël, and Tod Henry in the communal kitchen of the newly renovated staff housing hotel located in downtown Ucluelet. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce champions unique staff housing solution

“It was a win-win situation for all of us.”

Relic surf instructor Mike Dandurand has moved at least six times since relocating to Ucluelet about three years ago.

He said he started off in a van then moved into a rental suite before moving into a staff accommodation and back to his car.

Now, the 26-year-old hangs his Relic Surf Shop hat in a newly renovated hotel located on Ucluelet’s Main Street. Featuring 10 freshly painted rooms, five with private bathrooms and five with shared facilities, the old hotel was transformed to serve the town as staff accommodation for various businesses.

“I’m so happy to have my own space,” said Dandurand. “It’s pretty sweet. The fact that there is a communal kitchen makes a huge difference. Everyone works different jobs so people are coming and going at different hours. You have fish plant people working the night shifts, you have restaurant people. There’s a mix. The kitchen is definitely hostel vibes.”

The innovative staff housing solution is co-ordinated by the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber vets applications and subleases private rooms to business owners. The $500 to $600 monthly rent comes off the employees’ wages.

“I was trying to look for another Chamber of Commerce that did champion this. We are the first. People are calling me and asking me about this now,” said Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce executive director Lara Kemps.

Since the staff housing project was launched this summer, over 31 people have been housed, notes Kemps.

Property owner Andrew Hanson has been working on reviving the old hotel for about five years with reno man Tod Henry. He thinks converting his hotel into staff housing is a great achievement for his business.

“It was a win-win situation for all of us,” Hanson said. “[Housing] is a real need in town and it would be really great if we could find more people that were less interested in cashing in on the short-term accommodation and providing long-term to keep the town stable.”

Mayor Mayco Noël said he connected the property owner and the Chamber.

“It was a conversation that Tod and I had. I just saw that there was a huge opportunity. They had 10 rooms done and they just needed some beds. We were nearing end of May and I just knew that these guys were motivated,” said Noël, adding that Hanson had the option to keep his property as a hotel.

“He could have easily had the debit machine down here,” said Noël.

Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce (TLBCC) executive director Jen Dart sits on a committee of the housing corporation that is looking into how specifically the Tofino Housing Corporation might deliver staff specific housing.

“The Chamber in Tofino has not been directly involved with housing, but has been very active in advocating for affordable housing and for the reformation of the Tofino Housing Corporation,” said Dart in an email.

Dandurand said as long as he’s at Relic, he can live in the town staff accommodation on Main Street.

“Thanks to Lara for putting all this together. It’s the most needed thing for this community,” said the surf instructor.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ: Ucluelet council allows RV’s to be seasonal housing

READ: Tofino’s housing crisis spilling into hospital

READ: Feds announce $75 million for affordable housing in B.C.

Just Posted

Tofino council rejects new liquor store

“We have a severe alcohol problem on the West Coast here.”

Ucluelet Soapbox Derby revved up to return

Over 30 West Coast kids geared up to race down Bay Street this Saturday in Ucluelet.

Ucluelet talks pot shops

Two applications are being considered as cannabis retailers.

Ahousaht students kick off school year with inspirational field-trip

Maaqtusiis kicks off year with two-night stay at Cedar Coast Field Station on Vargas Island

Surf’s Up event in Tofino offers a wave of positivity for families living with autism

“There’s no other opportunity like this for kids like Rylan.”

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Takaya, B.C.’s intriguing lone wolf, seen eating seal and howling away on Discovery Island

Fun facts about Takaya the wolf, like his a 36-hour tour around Chatham, Discovery Islands

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

Most Read