EDITORIAL: Landlorded over

If things suddenly got twice as good, they would still be bad. Vacancy rates on the North Shore are hovering around one per cent, well shy of the targeted range of three to five per cent.

The severity of the housing crisis was demonstrated Thursday morning when service workers vanished from the North Shore during a massive traffic snarl. The reason the lineup for decaf lattes sometimes resembles a Depression-era breadline is due largely to regular, unmerciful rent increases.

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Were you to attempt the Evel Knievel-like stunt of renting an average, $1,900 a month West Vancouver apartment while supporting yourself with full-time minimum wage work, you would have about $7 a day to spend on food. The average rent is significantly lower than entry-level rents due to longtime tenants benefiting from rent controls. That means young families, the kind often spoken of by politicians with great tenderness, need to pay well above that average for the privilege of not owning property on the North Shore.

For decades the only continuity between our Conservative and Liberal federal governments has been neglect of the rental housing market, leaving municipal governments to mull the needs of the housed and the housed-not.

In West Vancouver and the District of North Van, approving purpose-built rentals occurs at approximately the same speed at which NIMBYs are converted to YIMBYs.

If NIMBYs, some of whom occupy a seat on those councils, aren’t moved by the plight of renters, we hope they’ll consider their own self-interest.

Lifeguards at Ron Andrews Rec Centre likely saved a senior’s life recently. But with an acute lifeguard shortage and the missing generation still missing, we wonder who will be there next time.

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