Tag Archives: Campbell River Housing

Housing on Cortes: an Interview with Mark Vonesch (part two)

Currents interviewed Mark Vonesch in early December. This is the second half of that interview, in which we dig a lot more deeply into issues related to housing on Cortes and in the local area: homelessness, employment, property values, AirBnB and much more.

We present here some excerpts from nearly 30 minutes of audio. Our interview covered quite a bit more ground: homelessness in Campbell River, and their approach to it; property tax structures and how they could be made more equitable; the related issue of a real estate market in which, as with rent, locals cannot compete with tourists and rusticators; the fundamental problem of treating housing as a speculative investment commodity. We recommend listening to the entire podcast for the most complete information.

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When the Invisible Hand Fumbles: The AIRBnB Phenomenon

It’s pretty common knowledge that we have a housing crisis on Cortes. In fact, there’s a “housing crisis” in many — perhaps most — popular or attractive places in North America and Europe right now. One of the factors often mentioned is AirBnB. This phenomenon (AirBnB now has global impact and qualifies as a Phenomenon!) vividly illustrates the predicament of “good for one is not necessarily good for all” — also sometimes known as “smart for one, dumb for all”.

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A New Approach to Homelessness: Housing First

As Currents recently reported, homelessness is not just “an American thing,” or “a big-city thing,” or even “a Vancouver Island thing.”  Homelessness is also here on Cortes, where a recent survey found that about 50 people rated their housing situation as “unstable,” and 11 were living rough (with no permanent shelter, in tents or other makeshift accommodation).

Although “housing” might sound like a single issue, it has has knock-on effects throughout our community.

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The Campbell River Coalition to End Homelessness Responds

(Editor’s note: While the events described in this article did not take place in the Discovery Islands, the Directors for Cortes Island and Area C both voted in the SRD Board meeting mentioned below. Also, we are part of the ‘District’ that the Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness operates in.)

Last week, the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board decided to step back from involving themselves in Campbell River’s emergency shelter. They were responding to a request from the Campbell River and District Coalition to End Homelessness. The Board considered two options: (A) they could give staff direction to explore what this would entail, or (B) they could inform the Coalition they are not prepared to take on the responsibility of operating homeless shelters. After 42 minutes of a somewhat confused debate that ended in a 7-7 vote, they chose option (B).   

Cortes Currents reached out to the Coalition for comment while writing up an account of the meeting, but neither Stefanie Hendrickson, the Coalition’s Coordinator, or Sue Moen, from the Salvation Army, were available until the afternoon of Monday, November 14, 2022. Both women responded by email. 

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Who will look after Campbell River’s homeless population when temperatures plummet?

When temperatures plummeted to −20° last year, SRD Emergency Coordinator Shaun Koopman stepped in to make arrangements for Campbell River’s homeless population to be sheltered in the city’s community centre. The SRD intervened again last week, but at their November 9 meeting the Board decided this was a Campbell River problem.

Continue reading Who will look after Campbell River’s homeless population when temperatures plummet?