Why I might leave Whitehorse

Why I might leave Whitehorse Having lived in Haida Gwaii and the Kootenays much of my life I have come to love the small-community feeling, natural beauty and diversity of art, culture and economics. We all seemed to get along with no major transportat

Having lived in Haida Gwaii and the Kootenays much of my life I have come to love the small-community feeling, natural beauty and diversity of art, culture and economics.

We all seemed to get along with no major transportation or housing crisis.

Whitehorse has the small-community feel, the natural beauty and diversity of art and culture.

But the economics of transportation and housing are not easy to deal with here. These are the reasons I may leave Whitehorse.

I moved to Whitehorse almost two years ago and I am still renting a room. My transportation of choice is city transit, but in Whitehorse it is expensive with a very limited service. My room is out of town so my town activities have to occur within the hours of bus schedules. I don’t want to have to buy a vehicle. My goal is to live simply and tread lightly on the Earth. I love to walk around town, stop for a coffee, stroll the Millennium Trail (so beautiful) or hang out at the park (in the glorious Yukon summer). Taking a taxi is $20-plus for one trip. I can take the bus to the pool for a swim after work, but there is no bus to take me home again. One cannot attend a Friday movie in town and take the bus home! This has been talked about, as has the housing situation.

I love Whitehorse, have a good job and am finding good friends here. I would like to make it my home, if I could find a home (apartment really) that fits within my budget. I make a decent wage, better than many, less than others, and I could afford $800 or $900 per month, but this would yield me a small bachelor apartment, or, if I was lucky, a one bedroom apartment. If I was lucky and found this, I would be happy.

I am looking for a bachelor or one bedroom apartment in town or Riverdale, but I can’t seem to find one.

The common words I hear are, “This place has been rented.” The common ads in the papers and bulletin boards are “Wanted to rent É desperate!” I wonder how much longer I will last here.

This is not community mindedness or good politics. That an apartment can rent for $1,100 a month and have mould and old dirty carpets is downright criminal. That the city has set the cost of land so high that developers have no choice but to set high rent/sales on their developments is downright unfriendly. How sad is it that Whitehorse has such a high cost of living?

This is not the norm for rentals. Even in the Lower Mainland you can still find an apartment for $600 without mould. Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and cities across the country provide a range of rental properties from $600 to $2,400, with the majority of rentals in the $1,000 range. Whitehorse has no range: Rent is high, that’s it. Of course, I compare Whitehorse with major cities, simply because of its federal status.

Whitehorse, however, is not a big city, and cities of the same size offer rent considerably below that ($500 for a small house in Trail, BC, to name just one example).

In Whitehorse, you are lucky if you can find a room in someone else’s house for $600 ($300 to $400 in other cities). I know this has been talked about and there are some fine people addressing this, although at the moment it does nothing to help me or the many, many others find an apartment. It doesn’t help in the moment of Now. In the moment of Now, I am quite angry that city planners created this nightmare. I may leave Whitehorse and many others may as well and the only reason I may leave is housing (#1) and bus scheduling (#2).

P.S. If I could find an apartment in town, I wouldn’t mind the bus schedule at all.

Holly Wilson

Whitehorse