Our View: Rental need is growing

The Langleys need to move on creating more affordable rentals.

When new rental housing appears in the Langleys, it’s something of an event these days.

Over the past few years, several new rental projects have gone up – in Willoughby, Murrayville, and Langley City. And that’s good, because for years now Langley has been steadily losing rental housing stock, including aging duplexes and houses.

The problem is that we still don’t have enough relatively cheap rental housing. The new rental units are lovely – and expensive. Apartments and even basement suites run from between $900 to more than $1,500 in the Langleys.

Unless you make north of $50,000 a year, you’re probably going to spend more than half of your income on rent if you need to find somewhere to live in Langley.

That’s obviously a problem. A community is not a functioning community if it can’t provide reasonable accommodations for all its citizens. That means seniors on a limited income – who’ve been here for years – it means newcomers who have arrived for jobs or schooling, and it means people in their 20s who are moving out for the first time.

Langley Township and City have both made moves towards sustainable housing, but we haven’t yet seen a lot of projects emerge from that. With the rapid pace of development underway, moving faster would be better.

The new condos and townhouses of Langley are going to house a lot of happy families, downsizing seniors, and new residents. But if we don’t mix in affordable rentals, Langley will be only half a community, as we shut out those below a certain income bracket.

– M.C.

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