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Housing crisis (not really) in Rossland

I'm sure by now we're all aware of the shortage of short term (seasonal) rentals in Rossland this year and each week there's some one new looking for a place for the winter.  Many of these people are ski hill staff and also snow seekers that keep our town running and thriving through the winter.  With no where to live many of these people will either move down the hill to Trail (but even down there It's tight on rentals) or move on to another hill for the season.  There's 83 listed air b and B or similar type accommodations In Rossland which is drastically affecting the rental housing in Rossland.  But I get it, as an income property you stand to make much more in this type of fashion and why wouldn't a person do It?  Makes a lot of sense.  However, being a Seasonal town that depends on seasonal workers for the ski hill and seasonal renters that contribute to the town's economy, this model of rental  income may ultimately have a negative affect on  the community as a whole.  One possible  Long term solution is staff housing provided by Red mtn.  something like fixing up the old block motel which I think is still owned by The CEO who cares oh so much  for our community.  Can't blame somebody for wanting to make more money on their rental but there might be some long term fallout.   Im a homeowner with a spare room that I rent out seasonally and will continue to do So in the future to provide a place to live for a person that contributes to our community.

 

Well said Dstrelioff. Maybe those looking for accomodation can "donate" to Red's crowd funding and can (Min $1000) and live in the exclusive lodge on Grey Mtn as part of their contribution.

Call me crazy but would it be possible to crowd fund to turn the Lion's Campground into a year round facility? We could fix up the washroom facilities, get more hook-ups and people could live in their trailers/campers. They could rent the pad by the month or for the winter, November-April maybe. It wouldn't be as nice as an apartment, but some people might like it and it might not be that hard to do.

Many ski resorts maintain RV lots for that exact reason.  I worked a couple of seasons at Mt Washington and their RV lot that had a washroom/shower building was full all winter, with more than a few staff members.  Not only did it provide affordable seasonal housing but also income for the resort itself.  Lake Louise provides staff housing as well, it makes sense for the resort as a gauranteed amount of wages paid out comes back to the resort on a monthly basis.  I've heard a of a few long term staff that are not returing to work at Red because they simply cannot find a place to live.  We're talking about ski bums here that may not have their own transport and hitching from Trail in the morning is going to be unreliable at best. 

  Another affect of the shortage of rentals is the increase of rental price, if there's next tp nothing available, landlords can certainly ask more for their rental space.  $500-$600 for s room in a shared house isn't uncommon this year, I used to rent a whole house for that.  Good or bad depending on who you ask. This could also be a sign of the times as we catch up to what a typical resort town might be looking light, expensive seasonal rentals for small spaces, ala Whistler style.  I guess it all comes down the choice of the property owner weather they want to cash in on tourists or provide living space for seasonal workers and skiers.  Persoanlly I favour the seasonal renter who rides the chairlift most days, shops at Ferraro's, hangs out at the Shovel after skiing and proabaly loads me on the chair instead of the obnoxious tourist who comes for the weekend and leaves empties around town.  Yeah I know that's a generalization but I've lived here long enough to know the difference.  I think most of us know somebody (or a few) that started here as a seasonal worker or shredder and has now become a contributing member of our community.

I have no room to rent but if i had something i would  rather provide them to a family or a local area resident on low income and not to ski workers.Their contribution to the community is debatable. They hardly make enough money to eat out in restaurants, buy the expensive gifts that our rosslanders shops sell or buy their overpriced clothing. they can't even drive to the ski hill apparently, they need a free shuttle. 

There is plenty of cheap accomodation down in Trail. The little left in Rossland would be nice if it was reserved for older local people on lower income (a project many local associations are working on).

I agree with whoever said that Red should take care of the foreign workers and accomodate them. Maybe making more of an effort to hire local people too, so the problem would not exist in the first place.

Ski bums that work one season here and one there, come in december and disappear in april are not what brings a lot of money to Rossland. 

These are all things that the municipality should look into, airbnb regulations, affordable long term rentals for older residents and way down the line, where to place the seasonal workers. 

The airbnb however definitely doesn't do much good to local businesses, taking away so many rooms from the few local hotels and kicking local long term resident out of the community in the first place. i already heard of few old timers having to move down to Trail becuase of what rossland is becoming.

 

I have no room to rent but if i had something i would  rather provide them to a family or a local area resident on low income and not to ski workers.Their contribution to the community is debatable. They hardly make enough money to eat out in restaurants, buy the expensive gifts that our rosslanders shops sell or buy their overpriced clothing. they can't even drive to the ski hill apparently, they need a free shuttle. 

There is plenty of cheap accomodation down in Trail. The little left in Rossland would be nice if it was reserved for older local people on lower income (a project many local associations are working on).

I agree with whoever said that Red should take care of the foreign workers and accomodate them. Maybe making more of an effort to hire local people too, so the problem would not exist in the first place.

Ski bums that work one season here and one there, come in december and disappear in april are not what brings a lot of money to Rossland. 

These are all things that the municipality should look into, airbnb regulations, affordable long term rentals for older residents and way down the line, where to place the seasonal workers. 

The airbnb however definitely doesn't do much good to local businesses, taking away so many rooms from the few local hotels and kicking local long term resident out of the community in the first place. i already heard of few old timers having to move down to Trail becuase of what rossland is becoming.

 

IceMay: I moved here as a ski worker in July of 2015. I have decided to stay. Your comment that our contribution to the community is debatable is crap. Since moving here I have started a Youth Snowboard program, volunteered around town and d id all but 1 gift of my christmas shopping here in Rossland. Before you make blanket statements like you have, maybe get to know some of the "ski workers" who keep this town running. We can afford to eat out, we can afford "expensive gifts" and most of us do have cars but choose to take the shuttle so GUESTS can park at the hill or for other reasons (saves gas, good for the environment). Get your head out of your a**.

I know many other "ski workers" who contribute daily to this community. (Cant edit)

I take exception to IceMay's characterization of the ski hill workers. And I have never worked at the ski hill, nor am I even a downhill skiier.

However, I know quite a few people who have worked at the ski hill in the past or still work there now and a whole bunch of them are, in fact, LOOOOONG term residents who contribute lots to our community. I also think that the shorter term residents contribute much too. The ski hill certainly makes an effort to hire locally but when they hire people from other countries, I think it adds immensely to our culture here. The ski hill, in general, is a central part of Rossland's character and if we don't have people to work there, how is it supposed to operate?

Taking the shuttle is a very good thing, no matter who is using it. It cuts down on fuel usage and saves parking for everyone. 

Having said that, I sympathize with older folk who have a hard time finding affordable rentals. Affordable rentals are needed for so many people. It's a problem but I think we can better find solutions if we avoid assigning blame, especially with so little supporting evidence.

I moved here in 1997 to work at Red Mountain for one season. 19 years later I run a business that I think a lot of people feel is great service to the community, and I contribute to the community in so many other ways.

I take great offence in people looking down their noses at seasonal workers here in Rossland. If it wasn't for seasonal workers at Red Mountain, you wouldn't have Bhubble. 

We obviously do have a housing problem in Rossland, so what are we going to do about it? Are we just going to rant here on Bhubble or Are we actually going to do something in real life? I'm going to try to contact the Lion's Campground myself today, what are you going to do?

Alynn McKenzie Smith
Bhubble Admin

One other point to add regarding the over-generalization and comments made against the seasonal workers at the hill, I have a long history with this town and that hill and have spoken with a surprising number of people who work at the hill in the winter who come from all manner of walks of life.  We have had Doctors, Lawyers, Physicists, Biologists, Physicians, Teachers and every "professional" category in between who have made the choice to work at the hill either for fun or as a break from their regular professions, just because they so much enjoy the environment and the opportunity to work at a place like that.  Characterizing all the seasonal workers at Red as deadbeat ski-bums who sponge of the system does a great disservice to the many men and women who work or have worked up there in the past who have contributed to this town in very meaninful and tangible ways, economically and socially. 

Just wanted to add my own two cents here, as the "housing crisis" has made the past three months extremely tough and demoralizing for all of my returning seasonal friends and I. Many of us love this town like no other town, and don't know where else we could find a community as accepting and rewarding to be a member of.
As far as the block motel goes, I met with the owner in November and tried relentlessly to make it available for returning staff. Thanks to the infinite hurdles provided by insurance policies, the owner was simply not prepared to assume millions of dollars of risk liability as eagerly as myself and a dozen other renters. Yet another year goes by that the block motel remains empty, and sits idly for sale. I believe the owner wanted ~$500,000 for the place, which if RED bought today, would still leave $5,000,000 dollars leftover from their crowdfunding campaign (and that's only their half way mark). The parcel of land also extends across Red Mountain Road and the highway, so RED could build all around it (perhaps some big gates like in Jurassic Park). The owner of the block was once a part owner of RED mountain and installed two chair lifts while he ran the place; It is a wonder why RED does not dish out a bit of cash to help this former community hero, and in doing so help their own staff members to have affordable housing within walking distance. Besides, it would totally eliminate that common excuse "I missed the shuttle bus and nobody picked me up" D;
Lastly, I want to thank all of the wealthy elderly patrons and other rich benevolent donators to the lifties working Paradise Wednesdays. It is a result only of your generous gratuity that we were able to purchase a home here in Rossland, and will be staying for a very, very long time.
Luckily, it is within walking distance to the food bank, which is, you guessed it, the only place we get food...
;)

Thanks for the information, Derek. Always wondered what the story was with the old Block Motel. I think the Jurassic Park gates would be awesome-sauce :). 

One of the great things that seasonal workers and people "from away" contribute to Rossland is an influx of new blood, new viewpoints, new ideas. It's good to be challenged. Too many small communities can become narrower and narrower in their views without it. 

Some broad, prospective solutions to housing crises further afield. Definitely some material to mull over and consider applying in R-Town.

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2016/12/10/Eight-Solutions-Canada-Housing-Cri...

The idea of Red providing accomodation to their workers is a very good idea. So is the idea of having an RV site open all year round, like Fernie, their new Rv site is great. The majority of the Rv there last month belonged to out of town workers so it is definitely a possible solution. Looking at other ski resorts is a very good source of inspiration to solve the short term housing problem. I dislike Airbnb and I hope it is possible to block it at municipal level, I know big cities have managed that and other resorts too. I really hope a solution will be found soon, because the lack of long term housing can kill this community, in particular long term local residents with limited income. I use the bus to and from Trail often, and it is very reliable: a very good form of transport in winter, not pricey and on time.

The City of Rossland currently has several policies in place to manage vacation rentals (e.g. AirBnb): http://www.rossland.ca/short-term-rental-information

Just and update on the Block hotel New owners applied for re-zoning recently, so maybe some folks in town are seeing the need and opportunity for housing. Public hearing on April 23, 6 pm at Miners Hall.

http://www.rossland.ca/news-notices?page=1

http://rosslandtelegraph.com/news/recreation-questions-re-zoning-disagre...

 

Right now we are planning for 4-5 long term 1 bedroom apartment rental units at the old Block Motel. The bottom floor of the building would be used for shorter term room rentals, with access to a common kitchen and shared bathroom.

 

 

lol @icemay so ski workers, many of whom have moved here specifically to work and live in the mountains for the winter and end up staying as long as they can, can't afford to contribute to the local community but older locals on low income can? I bet these older locals would love to work on the hill too but those gosh darn foreigners keep takin' their jobs!!!

It's unfortunate that Red doesn't provide staff housing - most mountain/touristy towns I've been to offer some form of staff housing as they understand that a big part of their local population is young, seasonal workers

And how is a free mountain shuttle a bad idea? Less traffic going up the mountain, no parking issues up there, great for tourists who maybe don't know how to drive in the mountains or just don't have a vehicle because, you know, they don't live here, and I don't know about you, but I like to head to Rafters after a day on the mountain and not have to worry about being fit to drive back down. 

Noticed today that the staff parking lot at Red is no more, construction on the new hostel has already begun.

Anyone want to come work at Red? Sure thing but you can't live here, you're gonna need a car. Oh yeah and you can't park here either :)

Trying to stir the pot, eh?

From the telegraph: "He explained that RMR owns the land being re-zoned to allow a hostel, and it’s serviced; that there will be a caretaker; that RMR has been in discussions with Hostelling International and will uphold HI hosteling standards ; and that RMR will build more parking this year – the 150 spaces that were planned for last year but not completed, plus 150 more spaces."

And just some more info on employee housing (which I'm all for,) I did a bit of asking around at other BC resorts.  For example, Big White owns housing for about 40 staff, which is about 4-5% of their workforce, where 4 to 8 people live in a unit (similar numbers to other resorts.)  Using the same numbers here, that's 15 people, or two/three units (hostel style, two people per bedroom.)  However, also using Big White as an example, there are third parties that have also stepped up and contributed to the housing pool with their large buildings for staff.  Could be a business opportunity for someone?  Actually, looking above, dthoss may have already jumped on it.

I also think the not-in-my-backyard crowd would be fairly loud if a staff accom were to be built somewhere in town, they are loud, party filled, busy areas full of people just here to have fun.

Rossland has had not only a chronic housing shortage but also suffers from a chronic shortage of service workers.  With The Josie opening and Clanceys exapanding, this compounds the problem.  It would be shameful if Rossland becomes another Whistler, with 4 people crammed into a room or sadly living in their vans.

People deserve a a proper living space.  Gouging is taking place.  Last season a worker at RED told me of the only accomodation he could find was with 5 other people in the same residence - Warfield -  at $700 a month in shared bedrooms.  And she instilled a rule that they could only shower every second day!  As she also resided in the house whe was able to enforce the rule.  (I told him he could come to my home anytime and use our shower)  She brought in rental revenue of $3500 a month and moaned about the electricty bill being too high.

How utterly obscene.  I think it is highly unlikely she claimed the rental revenue on her taxes as she obviously lacked the morals to rent proper accomodation. It is obscene and demoralizing that someone could gouge seasonal workers desperate for somewhere to live.


There has not been a lot of foresight into staff accomodation with all the expansions taking place.  This has to be addressed as the service industry represents a circulating dollar.  Everyone benefits if housing is available.  I recall when first moving to Rossland in 1987 and being a bartender.  All my purchases were local, due in part to not having a vehicle.  Ski/sports equipment, clothing, restaurants, golfing and groceries.  That's a steady little cash infusion for local businesses.  My only purchases in Trail were for a mountain bike and a stereo as neither were available here.

If RED and The Josie staff have to resort to living in Trail, their commute will be a real challenge as the bus does not run early enough for their shifts.  Nor late enought to return workers home from a shift at Rafters.

I wish I could do something about this.  It's up to RED and The Josie to address this situation.