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Opinion: Housing shortage is 'hollowing out' the Coast

If Lori Pratt, who is a realtor, can't find housing, what hope is there for the rest of us?
Louise and Linda Nason have been living in the Gibsons Landing Inn as they search for an affordable, accessible rental on the Sunshine Coast.

The Sunshine Coast community may soon face another loss. At a recent SCRD meeting, Halfmoon Bay director Lori Pratt announced she intended to run for re-election — but instead had to announce her recent housing troubles may force her to move off-Coast. 

This shows how much of a housing crisis the Coast is facing. There’s no housing for Lori Pratt. Nor for seniors (with or without health issues). Nor for the single mother and her child, even though she had a steady job — in high demand — in the trades. 

If Pratt (who is also a realtor, it’s worth noting) can’t find housing, what hope is there for the rest of us?

It’s not only about cost, although that’s rising while stock remains at zero. There are so few options, but especially for people with kids or a family member or pets or health and accessibility needs. Then you add in the cost of living and soaring inflation, and you have to wonder: What jobs on the Coast can support living here? And how can those jobs be filled when there’s nowhere to live?

This is what legal advocate Ken Carson of the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre told me is the “hollowing out” of the Coast. The ripple effect has already started to play out. You can see it when you try to go to a local business, but it’s closed half the week with a “Hiring” sign out front. If the garbage pick-ups are late again this summer and full cans line the roads, you’ll smell it. When the ferry is late — again — you’ll hear the complaints. When there aren’t enough volunteers, the societies that pick up the slack across jurisdictions and causes will fold. 

For those who lived on the Coast last election, voters may remember that Lori Pratt was acclaimed to her position on the SCRD board. If no one steps forward, the provincial government will step in to select someone. 

But who will be left?


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