Shipping Containers Address Housing Shortage


(Waves crashing) (Music) (Wooden wind chimes) The first thing that I think people tend to think about when they think about Tofino is transient seasonal workers. People who live here year round, they make all their money in the summer. And a whole bunch of people come through for the fair weather. It’s competitive trying to find a place to stay. I’ve sort of just recently finished my University, so I’ve spent a lot of time living in like kind of budget shared accommodations. Nobody wants the whole place to get developed, but at the same time we have this burgeoning tourist economy. that relies on cheap seasonal labour. And, you know, any resort municipality has this problem with affordable housing. So it’s very cool to kinda see the First Nation taking leadership there. We have an average of 35 thousand people in and out everyday. So, housing is a huge issue around here. Especially during the summer time. Not so bad in the winter, but still the need is there. My understanding is that somebody got an idea and said: “Well, you know, I heard some place where people are building houses out of containers.” Somebody else said: “Well I think that might be a good idea.” And then somebody else talked to somebody at ANSI Indian Affairs and said: “We’d like to try this.” Basically it snowballed and money was found for it. They basically hired an architect and got somebody who was willing to bid on building them. As you can say, the rest is history. My last home was a trailer that was up on cinderblocks and was full of mold. So, moving into this place, being clean and new, has been amazing for the overall quality of living. It’s beautiful. Maintaining the home, now it only involves a pressure washer and a scrub brush rather than a paint brush and hammer and nails. I think it’s not uncommon for people of my generation to be living in really small spaces. The whole “Tiny House” thing. It’s like the idea of making these out of shipping container units I think is pretty cool, because that’s one of those waste problems that nobody has really found a solution to. It’s pretty much one big open room. I don’t know what the square footage is. And then there’s just a tiny little elbow kitchen. Everything you need for cooking your own meals. And then there’s a little bathroom there, but it’s got a full bath in it. It’s kind of luxury. I feel lucky to be in here. People rent a single room in somebody’s house in Tofino for 800 dollars a month. If you can find it. Shared bathroom. No kitchen. No laundry. Basically that’s what you’re paying. That’s not what we wanted to do here. I think two thirds of Tla-o-qui-aht membership don’t live at home. And a lot of people do want to come home but, it’s just getting more and more expensive to live here. Friends and family, when they come to visit, they seem quite jealous. That fact that this is in essentially downtown Tofino, and they’re still on islands off of Tofino. Traditionally used to having to wait at a dock. 8:30 or 9:00 at night. Really hard to find a boat to get back to the island to go home. That first time being able to pull up to my driveway and unload the kids and groceries straight in the door was an amazing revelation of freedom. I think the project was a great idea. If it can be replicated or expanded on and done other places then it should be.

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