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Housing: We knew it would come to this 18 years ago

Posted by Sherry Rioux on May 30, 2018

Way back in 1999/2000, I had the pleasure of chairing a committee for the town of Collingwood that was called Vision 2020. As you can surmise, it was a project that looked ahead to the future of the community and made recommendations to the council of the day about ways to prepare for what lay ahead.  And that we did.  240 recommendations in all. You can read the report here:  Vision 2020 Blueprint Collingwood

We identified keys areas of potential pressure and a key one was the issue of housing. Here we are 18 years later and exactly what we predicted, has happened.  In addition, the recommendations we made at the time, fell mostly on deaf ears with a lack of either political will or understanding to be proactive on the issues.

“The existing housing situation is rapidly in danger of spiralling out of control and the Town of Collingwood as a whole does not yet appreciate the severity of the situation.”  Vision 2020

Today, we are faced with a significant labour shortage in the area and many believe that is directly related to the lack of affordable or, better said, attainable housing in the area for the workforce needed to fill those jobs.

Rock 95 did this article online that looks at this issue and includes an interview with yours truly.  I love any chance to jump on the Vision 2020 bandwagon knowing that it was a gift to the town that was never appropriately appreciated. Perhaps now someone will dust off the pages and re-visit the suggestions which still hold merit today.  We can fix this.

One thought on “Housing: We knew it would come to this 18 years ago

  • on June 2, 2018

    As a small business owner experiencing this dynamic I can state this is fact. I had a great team member forced to leave because of inability to find reasonable cost housing anywhere near Collingwood. They spent months trying to find anything suitable for their family that wasn’t in the category, in his words, ‘stupid’ (and they were willing to pay a decent amount). Despite paying a portion of mileage expenses (find an employer who does that) he simply couldn’t afford the cost of the daily drive to Collingwood and back. I pay well, 9-5 Monday to Friday, great work/life balance, great working environment, all good stuff. But…the business can’t afford to pay what would be required for people to live here. Resumes received in the search to find a suitable replacement team member…same issue. I can’t hire someone with the skill sets required knowing the same dynamic will inevitably take place.

    Fast forward to the trickle down effect. I provide clients with quotes where they are surprised at the cost. The cost…directly impacted by the cost of skilled labour absolutely driven up by local housing costs. Next comes the business impact of potentially scaling back services because we can’t find suitable labour that will allow us to provide services in an appropriate cost/price range. And so on, and so on…

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