By: Tony Davis
Pamela Deltor talking to a room full of PEI residents at a community meeting surrounding the topic of affordable housing across the island.
Pamela Detlor watched the housing crisis unfold in Summerside at Heritage Park where residentsÂ were told they had to vacate their homes. The land owner couldnâ€™t deal with infrastructure costs, sheÂ said.
Detlorâ€™s mother was one of the tenants who had to relocate. She lived in the park for 40 years.
â€œA woman who was a cancer survivor was forced into bankruptcyâ€¦ she had to move outside the city ofÂ Summerside, she lost her community,â€ Detlor said she also had a 33-year-old neighbour who committedÂ suicide.
Detlorâ€™s mother was lucky, she had a place to move her mini-home, a plot of land Detlor bought inÂ Linkletter.
She was one of many who gathered in Charlottetown last Thursday to tell their story among other concerned citizensÂ at the P.E.I. Farm Centre. The issue has become Island wide, and the battle for affordable housing seemsÂ to be centred in the capital city, where the vacancy rate has sunk to below one per cent.
Aimee Power, a community member and one of the organizers of the Fight for Affordable Housing event.Â
Aimee Power was one of the organizers of the event. She spoke about how the prices for housing have skyÂ rocketed in Charlottetown the last couple of years. A lot of the houses which were perfect starter homesÂ around $120,000 have been snatched up and used as rentals, she said.
â€œYou get to rent it out and fix it up, it is a tourism rental for the summer and then have students in thereÂ for the winter. But it affects studentâ€™s as well, because if they want to stay here, if they want to liveÂ here, if they love it here they are not able to do that either.â€
Teresa Doyle is a Charlottetown resident who is also worried about young people unable to findÂ affordable housing, she said at an intimate round table discussion with other concerned citizens.
â€œThe average independent musician in Canada makes $7,000 a year, so when you talk low incomeÂ people a lot of those people are the creative people in the community. Charlottetown is going to be aÂ really dull city when all the musicians, artists and filmmakers leaveâ€¦â€
She wants to know how we can hang on to that creative class in Charlottetown.
Rosalind Waters talks about the need for a tenants rights movement in PEI.Â
Rosalind Waters wants more protections put in place for those who rent in Charlottetown. Waters live in P.E.I. now but has worked as a community legal worker in the area of tenantsâ€™ rights in Toronto andÂ Victoria for 20 years. Waters wants tenants to have the right of first refusal in Charlottetown, sheÂ said.
â€œWhat that means is if you get an eviction for renovation you get first dibs on the unit when it isÂ compilated. In other jurisdictions tenants do have that right.â€
Waters notices it’s not hard for landlords to manipulate rent legislation and profit, she said.
â€œSo, while people living on low and modest incomes are losing their homes, there are those who areÂ profiting enormously.â€