We hear it all the time nowadays: Sooke is growing.
That’s great, more people is wonderful, but how and where are these individuals going to live?
Think about it. The average rent in Sooke is $900, and that’s without any amenities such as hydro, water or internet, which, let’s be honest, add up. This is unreasonable for someone earning a middle-class salary, let alone low-income individuals who earn just enough to feed themselves.
Now why is that? Well, Sooke’s not exactly abundant in rental housing; aside from a few musty, windowless basement suites, you can count on your fingers how many apartment buildings there are, of which less then half are available or affordable to newcomers.
This isn’t even a Sooke issue, but a regional issue, as the province looks at alternatives in providing more affordable housing to up-and-coming Vancouver Island residents.
Just last week, federal minister Jean-Yves Duclos joined B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman on a tour of the Cottage Grove site in Saanich.
The project is expected to bring 45 units of housing near Quadra Street, due to open next year. A few kilometers away, another housing project, Rosalie’s Village, will provide a home to single mothers.
No doubt, both are a wonderful symbol of moving forward on the housing crisis British Columbians are facing, with the Capital Regional District and the province pitching in millions to get the wheels spinning.
Is it enough though? If Victoria’s (now disbanded) tent city is any proof, lack of housing has spilled onto our streets en masse, and will keep on hemorrhaging low-income individuals if we keep idling by.
The good news is, the gears are in motion to do something about it. Another $60 million is being provided by the CRD and the province to fund affordable housing, but it needs direction. Money is money, but its true value shines when it’s put to good use, to helping people.
If Sooke really wants to grow like everyone else, then it needs to become much more involved in the discussion of affordable housing.