When we first moved here, this was a very affordable community. We were able to buy a mobile home in a lovely setting for less than the price of a new mini-van. The folks next door had retired with enough money to buy either a house or a boat, so they bought a mobile home and a sailboat, and had a wonderful retirement.
That’s all changed. International investment has sent real estate prices sky-rocketing in Metro Vancouver, and we get the fallout. Developers are building luxury homes to attract newcomers while residents with jobs cannot find reasonable family homes or rentals. The SCRD can’t control house prices, but there are a few things they can do to foster affordability. For example, we need a Short Term Rentals Bylaw that prevents whole houses being used as mini hotels via online platforms like Airbnb. And the SCRD can do a great deal more to assist and encourage homeowners to put in secondary suites or second dwellings.
Land prices also hurt agriculture. Some of the best agricultural land on the coast is located in Elphinstone and lots people are growing food here, including the Henry Reed Organic Farm, Brookbank Farm, Pratt Road Farm, Hough Road Farm and RR#7 Farmstead.
The Agricultural Land Commission has recently come up with recommendations aimed at preserving agricultural land for farming. The SCRD needs to make farmers and food production a priority as well.
Did You Know?
You can pay your property taxes monthly instead of being whacked by a big bill each July. Set up a rural property account online with eTaxBC to make automatic payments semi-monthly or monthly from your bank account.
Property taxes are one of the last things that many people pay annually instead of monthly, so there’s a big sticker shock. It’s easy not to notice that our household may be paying just as much for other services, such as cable packages, home insurance, auto insurance, or cell phone plans.