Editorial: The need for affordable housing
Paradise has a cost, and that’s more than evident when it comes to housing.
Since at least 2014, the town has had a 0.0 per cent vacancy with approximately 37 per cent of residents overpaying for shelter, according to the municipality.
A 2021 analysis by Parks Canada also identified that 46 new housing units have been constructed in town since 2017, but 63 units were converted to condominiums through the same period, which likely removed some from the rental pool.
I myself had difficulty finding housing. My search involved calling landlords and agencies to no avail, as well as posting on two Facebook pages dedicated to nothing but finding housing in Jasper, before I eventually found a place through a work colleague.
Nevertheless, the fact that a person of reasonable means ran into so many obstacles in this search for housing hints at how those less fortunate must struggle by comparison.
In response to this need, an affordable housing project is expected to offer 32 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom suites and be located along Connaught Drive.
The Municipality of Jasper is working with the Jasper Community Housing Corporation, the business community and Parks Canada to make the project a reality.
Council helped move this project forward by approving the installation of utilities to the three parcels for the site during its regular meeting on March 2.
Such efforts to address the housing needs of Jasper are welcomed and necessary, for as much as Jasper is a tourist town, it is also a town of workers who strive to keep this destination both functional and comfortable.