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Lack of jobs & affordable house, pushing some to leave

Lack of jobs & affordable house, pushing some to leave

Postby Static » Jan 18th, 2011, 5:13 pm

Sounds like most of the valley. Any thoughts?


LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE OSOYOOS
Posted on 04 January 2011 by admin



Ray Hupp of Osoyoos is moving his family to Cranbrook to take advantage of social housing opportunities in that community. Photo by Tasleem Mawji - Click on picture for larger image


OSOYOOS TIMES-January 5, 2011

By Tasleem Mawji - Osoyoos Times

Ray Hupp, 34, is taking his three children and moving to Cranbrook where he can have access to affordable housing through BC Housing until he finds work.
Hupp, a single father on Unemployment Insurance (EI), was raised in Osoyoos and said he does not want to leave, but that the town does not have job opportunities or affordable housing for young families in his position.
Rosalie Mercer, 41, said her 50-year-old husband, Reg Swannie, recently brought up the idea of moving her and her five young children because he cannot find work.
Mercer, who used to babysit from her home, also said that many of her former clients have either been laid off or have left Osoyoos; she said she went from babysitting about five children to babysitting one.
But she doesn’t want to leave either.
So, for now, her husband will try to find work in Princeton and only see his family on the weekends.
Hupp and Swannie were just two members of a number of young families who showed up at the Osoyoos Food Bank on Dec. 10 to make use of the monthly service and sign up to receive a Christmas hamper.
The two were also recently featured in the Penticton Herald as families sponsored by the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and met during the construction of the Watermark Beach Resort.
Since the resort project was completed, Hupp has been laid off by his construction company and Swannie was laid off when the barrelling company he worked for lost its contract with Sun-Rype.
Hupp said he had a good three years of work with construction jobs at Watermark, the Spirit Ridge Resort and Mariposa Gardens being built, but since August there has been no work.
“The main reason (we’re moving) is for low-income housing. There is none in Osoyoos. And you have to be making an income to collect the rental subsidy they have available,” said Hupp, who was evicted from his Osoyoos home after not being able to keep up with rent.
He then moved into his mother’s home with his three children.
“Without the jobs there’s no attraction for families to want to come here. It’s a small town; there’s no Wal-Mart; there’s no major shopping centres. If you want to buy food responsibly you have to get to Penticton…it kills the budget when you have to shop here,” he said.
In the wake of declining school enrolment and the threat of closing down Osoyoos Secondary School, Jenny Martins, 31, a mother of four who was also born and raised in Osoyoos, and was also at the food bank on Dec. 10, said there is nothing left in Osoyoos for young families.
“There’s nothing here, so maybe we’ll have to leave soon. Everybody’s going to be leaving if something doesn’t shape up,” she said.
Mayor Stu Wells said the economic downturn is being felt everywhere and that he doesn’t know why there was never any low-income or supportive housing built in Osoyoos in the past, as Oliver has had such housing for at least the last 20 to 30 years.
He said that such housing initiatives are usually taken on by non-profit organizations or the provincial government, but would not be feasible for Town staff to manage.
“You can’t go out there with Town taxpayer dollars and start hammering together affordable housing this instant,” said Wells.
Wells said that the Elks Golden Villa in Osoyoos offers affordable housing units, but it is not for families.
The Southeast Meadowlark area in west Osoyoos is what the Town is working on when it comes to affordable housing.
“I think for council that we have come this far in two years…(is) pretty good, given the purchasing of the land (and) getting it removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), which is huge,” he said. “That took well over a year of dialogue.”
The approximately 16-hectare Southeast Meadowlark area was released from the ALR by the Agricultural Land Commission in September.
Fifteen per cent of 270 units of medium-density housing to be built there over the next 10 years must be near-market affordable housing, which overall will amount to 40 near-market units.
“Near market is meant that they would be available either for rent or for purchase at somewhat less than the market price, so there’s an implicit subsidy involved,” said Alain Cunningham, the Town’s planning and development services director.
“These affordable homes would have to be marketed to young, working households.”
According to the Osoyoos affordable housing strategy, which was created by Town staff, City Spaces Consulting and a citizen affordable housing taskforce, four groups with priority housing needs were identified: moderate income working households, short-stay workers, low-income and special needs households and seniors on fixed incomes.
The policy for moderate income working households reads: “The first priority of the Town is to assist current and future working households, especially younger families, who face barriers to obtaining affordable housing.”
But the housing would not be for families on welfare or EI, as it is limited to those with employment or an offer of employment.
“We don’t have any (plans for social housing) at the moment. Usually those are completely subsidized by the province. So it’s a provincial initiative. Or there are some very large cities like Vancouver, (which) has its own program. But small communities can’t afford to run their own social housing programs,” said Cunningham, who added such an initiative would have to be a partnership between the Town and the province.
The Town’s policy statement for low income and special needs reads: “Unlike some other communities, Osoyoos is fortunate in experiencing relatively small numbers of low-income and special needs households. However, these disadvantaged people are especially in need of housing assistance and the Town places importance of strongly advocating for adequate senior government support programs and facilities, complemented with contributions by non-profits and community volunteerism.”
Cunningham said the first development in the Meadowlark area, including the first affordable housing units, will be on the Richter property, which was purchased by the Town in 2009 and is also where the new fire hall will be.
He said a request for Expressions of Interest (EOI) to develop the property will go out within the next year.
Cunningham also said the most recent work on the Meadowlark development was putting out Requests For Proposals for a two-phase study, of which Phase 1 is preparing “a unifying architectural and urban design concept” for the medium-density and affordable housing units.
At the Dec. 20 council meeting, the contract for Phase 1 was awarded to Distefano Architecture out of Kelowna at a cost of $24,998.
The second phase of the study is still dependant on funding and there is no commitment from the Town to award it to the same company.
Tom Shields, who was the mayor of Osoyoos from 1990 to 1996 and again from 2000 to 2002, said that many changes have contributed to the current situation in town, including the economy, the building boom and bust and changes in the culture of Osoyoos.
“It’s nothing to do really with the Town, not anymore,” he said. “It’s just unfortunate what has happened; we’ve gone into a different realm; we are too expensive here now.
“Anybody moving to this town is coming here to either slam golf balls around or drink wine.”
And for Hupp, who could not find work in Osoyoos, his family’s future is now in Cranbrook.
He said that requiring a job to access subsidized housing “just doesn’t make sense.”
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby ToddT » Jan 20th, 2011, 11:33 am

Osoyoos is pretty much one big gated community. It's a resort town, no different than some places in Mexico. (Maybe a little safer these days.)
The article states there is housing available in Oliver, why wouldn't these people look there if they don't want to move?

Seems like some typical Okanagan sense of entitlement.
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby Glacier » Jan 20th, 2011, 1:09 pm

Oliver's population has decreased as have many Southern Interior communities despite the fact this area was (until last week) considered one of the fastest growing locales.

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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby Al Czervic » Jan 20th, 2011, 2:27 pm

Real Estate if far more affordable in Cranbrook then it is in the resort community of Osoyoos. It only makes sense that affordable housing would be found there. Soon some people will expect “affordable” housing in the British Properties region of North Vancouver. The entitlement syndrome runs deeper by the day.
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby Homeownertoo » Jan 20th, 2011, 2:38 pm

Al Czervic wrote:Real Estate if far more affordable in Cranbrook then it is in the resort community of Osoyoos. It only makes sense that affordable housing would be found there. Soon some people will expect “affordable” housing in the British Properties region of North Vancouver. The entitlement syndrome runs deeper by the day.

Very true. The problem in Osoyoos, as an example, is not lack of affordable housing but a surplus of residents and wannabe residents looking for cheap housing where there is no reason to expect it to exist. There remains, however, the problem of never-ending new regulations, the latest mandating expensive high-efficiency furnaces, affecting new houses that push up their prices, to the detriment mainly of low-income people. People who do not earn enough to live in their favoured location need to do some thinking about where they should locate.
“Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed.” -- Leftist icon Herbert Marcuse
“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs.” -- Hillary Clinton, 25/10/2014
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby GEW » Jan 20th, 2011, 2:49 pm

Of course the economy has slowed over the past two years and it has been hard on some people.
However....
It sometimes seems fashionable for people to blame the Okanagan Valley for why they have no work instead of themselves. The truth is if you have some sort of job skill beyond labourer or burger flipper then there is probably work available for you here. If not, many other people (such as those in the oilfield) make their home here in the okanagan but work on a rotation; so if you need a job sometimes you don't have to move away.
As for Osoyoos (since the article mentions it) I work all over BC and can tell you that there is a fair bit of work there as well, despite the town being geared towards retirement. Quite a few carpenters, plumbers, welders, truckers (just to name a few) etc. who work every day and pay their mortgages, so there is no need to trash the town and say that it is a wasteland. That is simply not the case.
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby GordonH » Jan 20th, 2011, 6:02 pm

Unless you are retiring who the hell wants to live Osoyoos. Seriously :smt102 when I retire it would be somewhere that has an airport. So if I want pack my bags and go I can.
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby Bagotricks » Jan 24th, 2011, 11:24 am

Homeownertoo wrote:
Al Czervic wrote:Real Estate if far more affordable in Cranbrook then it is in the resort community of Osoyoos. It only makes sense that affordable housing would be found there. Soon some people will expect “affordable” housing in the British Properties region of North Vancouver. The entitlement syndrome runs deeper by the day.

Very true. The problem in Osoyoos, as an example, is not lack of affordable housing but a surplus of residents and wannabe residents looking for cheap housing where there is no reason to expect it to exist. There remains, however, the problem of never-ending new regulations, the latest mandating expensive high-efficiency furnaces, affecting new houses that push up their prices, to the detriment mainly of low-income people. People who do not earn enough to live in their favoured location need to do some thinking about where they should locate.


High efficiency furnaces did not drive up the cost of real estate in Osoyoos.

Osoyoos used to be a small farming town until they built multiple resorts and gated communities there, brought in "the wine scene" in and along with it all the high income clients, which drove up the cost of real estate until "locals" couldn't afford to live there. Those seasonal minimum wage jobs only bring so much to a community.

If Osoyoos is considered a "luxury town" then the 70% of Canadians that live paycheque to paycheque will need to live in swamps in Northern Ontario while the top shelf earners get to live their days out in LUXURIOUS OK FALLS.

There is more wrong with this picture than "people living beyond their means".
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby fluffy » Jan 24th, 2011, 12:03 pm

I passed through Osoyoos yesterday and was again impressed by the amount of new construction that has taken place, even in the slow economy. On the surface it seems to be basically a retirement destination due to the mild winters, and a tourist spot in the summer months. The pub at the foot of Main Street was sporting a "Closed for the Winter" sign. I think that this would pretty much put the writing on the wall for decent paying employment. Those who aren't in business for themselves would likely be stuck with working in some sort of support industry that doesn't pay a huge amount, and those with marketable skills run the risk of getting caught up in a seasonal cycle. This is not new to the Okanagan, when I grew up here "going north" to make a buck was part of life.
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby Homeownertoo » Jan 24th, 2011, 1:20 pm

In the mid-'80s, you didn't move to Kelowna unless you brought your job with you. Strange how some people think 'lack of jobs and affordable housing' is something new here.
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Re: LACK OF JOBS, AFFORDABLE HOUSING PUSHING SOME TO LEAVE

Postby Static » Jan 24th, 2011, 3:49 pm

Homeownertoo wrote:In the mid-'80s, you didn't move to Kelowna unless you brought your job with you. Strange how some people think 'lack of jobs and affordable housing' is something new here.


Affordable housing was abundant in the 80's. Please provide evidence otherwise. Specifically, the ratio of house price to income throughout the 80's compared to the first decade of the millenium.
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Re: Lack of jobs & affordable house, pushing some to leave

Postby Homeownertoo » Jan 24th, 2011, 8:12 pm

Strange how some people think 'lack of jobs and affordable housing' is something new here.
“Certain things cannot be said, certain ideas cannot be expressed, certain policies cannot be proposed.” -- Leftist icon Herbert Marcuse
“Don’t let anybody tell you it’s corporations and businesses create jobs.” -- Hillary Clinton, 25/10/2014

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Re: Lack of jobs & affordable house, pushing some to leave

Postby Static » Jan 25th, 2011, 6:22 am

Homeownertoo wrote:Strange how some people think 'lack of jobs and affordable housing' is something new here.


Strange how some make statements without backing it up. Are you going to prove that homes were as expensive in relations to income during the 80's compared to 2000-2010?
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Re: Lack of jobs & affordable house, pushing some to leave

Postby fluffy » Jan 25th, 2011, 6:36 am

Static wrote:Are you going to prove that homes were as expensive in relations to income during the 80's compared to 2000-2010?


It would be interesting to see those stats, wouldn't it? I moved into the Okanagan with my parents in 1969. They had just purchased a nice three bedroom house on a landscaped acre for $27K. A couple of years later a neighbour pulled out a small orchard and sold building lots for $1.5K each, around about the same time that BC's minimum wage was raised to $2./hour.
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Re: Lack of jobs & affordable house, pushing some to leave

Postby RupertBear » Jan 25th, 2011, 6:54 am

In the 10 years we have owned our current home, my wage has increased by approximately 2 per cent per year. The assessed value of our home/property has increased from $235,000 to $524,000.
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