It’s the dark side of success. The downside of living in a beautiful town that’s a magnet for those looking to live in a community where a laid-back lifestyle is a lure.
Nelson’s pricey rental market and stock of affordable housing has long been a problem. We live in a community where the cost of shelter and the earning capacity of the average person is out of whack. It makes surviving in this little plot of paradise a struggle for many.
Today’s front page story presents the latest rental market survey. It’s a grim reminder of the cost of being in a desirable place to live.
When Nelson is compared to other communities in our region, monthly rent is higher and it’s not easy to find a place. The issue of affordable housing is compounded when you consider the lack of high paying jobs in our immediate area. We don’t have a wealth of decent wages coming from a sawmill or a smelter.
There is obviously plenty of money somewhere in this community, but when you look around at our daily routine it’s hard to see. Folks working in retail or tourism-based jobs are not making much more than minimum wage. It’s a problem when those in the core service industry can’t afford to live in the community they serve.
There has been a modest building boom in Nelson over the last several years. The stock of condos, townhomes and additions like the Tenth Street Campus dorms has increased the number of dwellings within city limits. It would seem logical that this would make it easier to find affordable housing. The most recent survey tells a different story.
This week is Homelessness Action Week in Nelson. It’s a time when advocates have an opportunity to shine a light on a problem that impacts us all on some level.
We’re also warming up for a municipal election. Over the next month candidates will be looking to you for your vote. Make sure to look to them for what their solutions are for a lingering problem that has the potential to only get worse if not tackled.