KITIMAT VIEW: Greed is not the problem on housing

People say it's greed that is driving up prices in Kitimat so fast. But is that just a scapegoat?

One of the biggest challenges in today’s housing situation in Kitimat is to think of ways forward and not to sling stones.

It’s something I see frequently in discussion about today’s housing market: it’s a direct result of ‘greed’, the same driving force behind everything that may ill our region from pipelines to marine traffic.

Landlords are being greedy, people say, and its hurting low income and vulnerable people in town.

That second part I don’t dispute.

I’ll be speaking with a resident of a Kuldo apartment building who, like others, has received an eviction notice because of plans to renovate the building he lives in, one of the few ways a landlord can evict someone from a building.

There’s no justice in having to move in a market where availability is so low.

But I’d argue it’s not greed.

People who own apartment buildings typically don’t do so out of a philanthropic spirit, it’s a business.

But definitely there’s a crossover to be had between business and human welfare.

The trouble really is that Kitimat has had to expand so quickly there’s little give in the vacancy.

Those who own rental units are adapting to a new market.

Kitimat benefitted so long from such affordable rates — rates which I enjoyed when I first lived here — but that was a factor of low demand and a harder economy.

If we as a community had more time to anticipate these changes we may have been quicker to get new projects, new housing units, units designed for lower income families.

Projects are coming now, however. It’s not an overnight process, but we’re inching closer to the housing stock we need for balance.

And the cold weather shelter should be an effective stop-gap effort for those who need it over the next few months.

But as for our collective problem, we can’t simply blame greed. It’s not greed, it’s really a bigger issue.

Too many people, too little places, all happening too soon.

It’s similar to why I was paying far more in rent when I lived in Smithers than when I did in Kitimat. Vacancy in Smithers, at the time at least, was very, very low.

If there were rooms galore, I bet I would have had a deal.

But no one cried ‘greed’ in Smithers.

Cameron Orr

Just Posted

Environment Canada says removing weather buoy won’t affect boaters

“We just don’t know that we’ll be into the bad stuff until we’re out there.” - Hittel

Refurbishing line is still cheaper

BC Hyrdo says the $15 million spent hasn’t gone to waste

Townhall will update Kitimat on LNG projects

“This is a chance for our voice to be heard,” said Johnston.

Airport registers modest passenger increase

Manager anticipates further growth in 2018 as expansion project nears completion

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

VIDEO: Dramatic video shows return of rescued B.C. snowboarders

Two snowboarders were rescued near Rossland, B.C. on Sunday after being lost overnight.

Tom Brady leads Patriots back to Super Bowl, top Jaguars 24-20

New England to face winner of Sunday night’s game between Minnesota and Philadelphia on Feb. 4

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Final phase of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials to kick off in B.C.

Doctors hope to get psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy legalized in Canada and the U.S. by 2021

Uplifting news for Kitimat Museum Archives

The District of Kitimat will put the project out to tender

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Most Read