Banff struggling with rental housing crisis: ‘There’s not enough of it’

Banff is a paradise for young people who come to work, live and spread their wings, often for the first time. It’s a dream that 18-year-old Charly Mcmullen hoped to achieve.

“I was hoping to stay in Banff for six months to a year,” Mcmullen said.

But his stay ended after only four days.

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Mcmullen took a job as a room cleaner and planned to live in staff quarters at $13 a day. But when she arrived she said it was not what she expected.

“They told me they had no more staff accommodation available and they didn’t last week and they were accommodating people in hostels and hotels,” he said. she declared.

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Banff is facing a labor shortage and the weakening of the private rental market is not helping the situation.


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Banff feels labor shortage


Banff feels labor shortage

“Throughout the pandemic, as much of our population has moved away from Banff, what used to be a fairly compressed living environment – ​​maybe four to six people sharing a two-bedroom unit – which cleared up,” said Cathy Geisler of Banff Lodging. Co.

“There aren’t enough rentals on the private market, we have this large influx of staff coming into town and that’s putting pressure on our staff housing applications.”

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Geisler said his company is feeling the crunch. It provides accommodation for 450 staff, but admits 12 new staff are staying in hostels this week and around 60 in hotels, temporarily.

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“I can tell you that two years ago, four out of ten of us were looking for housing assistance. Today we have six out of 10 or more. This is a new situation for us, but we are confident that it will be resolved by the end of June,” Geilser said.


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Desperate times in the Calgary rental market lead to desperate decisions


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The pandemic has caused a shift in the rental market and forced many people to reassess their personal comfort levels when it comes to living in shared accommodations.

But low vacancy rates are an ongoing problem at the resort. Some people pay $1,000 a month for a single room on the private rental market.

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Darren Reeder of the Banff Lake Louise Hospitality Association said many winter seasonal workers have yet to leave town. That, combined with an influx of new summer hires and fewer spaces, gives you a temporary run in the rental market.

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“It doesn’t remove the larger strategic challenge that we have, which is: there just isn’t enough global inventory and price competitiveness for people to come into the community,” Reeder said.

Mcmullen said she tried to look for a place in the private market, but it was all out of her budget.

She decided she didn’t want to wait for staff housing and instead returned home to Ontario, saying goodbye to her dream summer in the mountains for now.


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