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

Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Claire Rattée is a former Kitimat councillor

Pacific Traverse Energy to start community engagement

The company will reach out to key stakeholders

RCMP again warns public not to drink and drive

New legislation allows police to breathalyze with drivers’ consent

Rio Tinto donates $50K for Shames Mountain chairlift upgrades

The money was used to purchase the chairlift’s bull wheel replacement last summer

Broken axle caused New Hazelton train derailment: TSB

It could happen again without a different way to inspect trains

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: 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

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: 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

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

Most Read