The Harrow Road project proposed by Sea to Sky Community Services (SSCS) in Pemberton has the potential to significantly increase our supply of affordable rental housing. For those of you who aren’t aware of this project, it will be a mix of rents and incomes in one building, providing affordable off-market rental housing for families, seniors and people disabilities. Thirty percent of the units will be market rent (moderate income), 50% will be “rent geared to income” (subsidized housing for households that meet BC Housing limits) and 20% deep subsidy (low income) . The housing program does not include housing with supportive services or residential care components. The proposed development will include 63 housing units for community members and commercial space on the ground floor, some of which will be for SSCS staff and programs so they can provide much needed community services in Pemberton. Sea to Sky Community Services, the Village of Pemberton and BC Housing have partnered on this exciting project.

Many members of our community are strongly opposed to this project being approved. Naturally, there are concerns about the size of the building, the potential for shading from the houses directly behind it, and increased traffic. SSCS has responded to these concerns on its website, and I encourage those who object to take a moment to learn that their valid concerns have been addressed, the facts clearly presented, and the solutions found. Why wouldn’t you support a project that will allow seniors to continue to live in a community they love? Why not support a project that will provide working families with secure tenancy for as long as they want to work and serve our community? Where will community members in need find help if SSCS cannot find affordable rental space to operate? Young adults in our area do not have the ability to take the first step towards self-sufficiency, renting their own suite, due to the housing crisis. People are leaving town, never to return, because they can’t find housing.

The Harrow Road project must be approved by the Mayor and Council of the Village of Pemberton. The future of our community depends on this project. I urge all of you struggling to pay your rent, those of you living in unsanitary conditions, and those of you who simply cannot find a place to rent, to write a letter to the Mayor and Council of Pemberton to support this project. Even a short email letting them know how desperately many of us need affordable housing will demonstrate the high level of community support for this project. Pemberton is in desperate need of affordable rental housing and the approval of the Harrow Road project is a vital step in ensuring those who work here can afford to live here.

Tania Chiasson // Pemberton