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Housing, rents worry Terrace and area residents

ZARIN Khoja, left, and Sasa Loggin from the Skeena Diversity Society at the society
ZARIN Khoja, left, and Sasa Loggin from the Skeena Diversity Society at the society's Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce's Business Expo booth. The society conducted a survey asking residents how they've been affected by the improving economy.
— image credit: STAFF PHOTO

HOUSING and rental prices came up as the top negative about living here in an informal survey done by Skeena Diversity Society at the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce Business Expo held last month.

Out of the 94 people who responded, 66, which is 70 per cent, shared mostly negative comments with lack of housing as the major impact of current changes here.

The survey, “Impacts of Changes in Terrace and the Northwest” was done to get a sense of the impact on housing due to the improving economy here.

Most of the answers confirmed what we were hearing from others but we did hear more examples of what was going on – personal stories of people struggling to find housing, being at the mercy of landlords, but we also came across landlords who have not raised their rents in any significant ways,” said Sasa Loggin of the Skeena Diversity Society.

It included only three questions with room to add in comments: “How have you been impacted by the recent changes?” “Are the changes mostly positive or negative?” and “Any suggestions what could be done?”

Housing comments included rapidly growing costs, “renovictions,” low income families having to leave to avoid homelessness, unaffordability and increased stress as people take in family of friends, hard to find housing for younger people and property taxes higher for home owners.

As landlords can’t legally evict tenants just because they want to raise rents, they come up with renovations as an excuse. In some cases, the renovations are quite minor and one can see that the real reason was changing tenants and increasing rents. Hence the term 'renoviction,'” said Loggin.

One comment that was received emphasized the increase of costs: “This town has gone crazy – too much greed. Rents and price of housing is way too much. It's way too expensive for low income and single families living on one income. We are being evicted and can't afford to buy a house.”

Higher traffic and comments about the difficulty of getting around at the beginning and end of lunch hour or after work, more truck traffic and the challenge of parking were noted as second highest negative responses with 29 per cent.

Of the 20 people who shared mostly positive experiences, more jobs, work and training opportunities were at the top of the list along with the welcoming of more people and greater diversity bringing new energy and ideas, new stores and shopping choices.

The influx of new people also came up as a negative with not enough jobs going to local people and not wanting new people to change the community.

Nine per cent shared positive and negative effects such as busier restaurants and subdivisions under construction.

We would like to hold regular community dialogues engaging the community in coming up with solutions to the impacts and strengthening our relationships with each other,” said Loggin.

I would encourage people to stay tuned and not hesitate to let us know if they are interested in being part of that process.”

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