Supporting local living


Wednesday, September 26 2018

There are a lot of things we need to do on Gabriola when it comes to the ‘housing crisis’.

Many of those things do have to do with supply.

We have a shortage of housing in both the rental and purchase markets for those who are wanting either.

What we also have is a problem with people being able to make a wage which sustains them in the long term on the island. What some might refer to as a living wage - that which is necessary for someone to meet their basic needs.

This differs from ‘minimum wage’ which is just an arbitrary number the government assigns as the lowest wage a business can pay employees.

And a living wage does not mean someone is able to set aside money for retirement; vacation; long-term university savings for their children; or even keep a little extra in the bank in case the roof starts to leak.

It’s just enough to sustain day to day living.

While there is a population that has a wage which matches their housing situation - there’s a population who might be on the threshold of that, if only their employer could bump their wages up.

To do that, businesses depend on the local community to continue supporting them, rather than spending money outside the community.

An old saying is that a dollar spent locally circulates seven times, benefitting seven different businesses and persons. A dollar spent non-locally simply exits the local economy.

Spending outside of the community means removing a chance for local businesses to see their incomes go up - benefitting the owners and the employees.

Again, there’s much more to the housing crisis than giving everyone on the island a raise.

But by supporting local business over non-local, we keep dollars circulating locally - which perhaps means more of the working population can continue to live on island, instead of commuting over from wherever they’ve managed to find a home.

That puts more volunteers into our community; keeps the school population stable; and ensures that as the community continues to grow, people can focus on helping each other, instead of just surviving day to day.

For those who want to make an immediate impact on islanders, support local business. Buy local whenever possible. Ask friends and family members to buy local when shopping for presents. Support the local restaurants and pubs.

The more we support each other financially, the closer more islanders will be towards the stability and sustainable housing we’re all looking for.