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EDITORIAL – Renting isn’t the madcap time of life Wilkinson thinks it is

Andrew Wilkinson. (Screenshot, BC Hansard)

A editorial by Mel Rothenburger.

I REMEMBER RENTING when I was a student. And when I got my first full-time job. And my second, and my third.

To borrow a phrase from B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, what a “wacky” time it was. Not. Driving a beater of a car, all the Kraft dinner I could eat, and tiny one-bedroom places.

It wasn’t quite the “fun” Wilkinson thinks it was.

He’s apologized for his comments that renting is just “a rite of passage.” He said it in the Legislature as he bemoaned the plight of landlords and the bureaucracy they face.

And it’s certainly true that there are deadbeat renters out there, who don’t pay their rent on time and who leave the place an absolute shambles when they fade into the night.

But for many, renting is part of life because they’ll never be able to afford to own, and they’re good people.

Basic rental accommodation in Kamloops right now is around a thousand dollars a month — $12,000 to $15,000 a year. Many can afford to rent only if they team up with someone else to share the cost, sometimes someone they haven’t even known before they partner up.

So, yes, it’s no wonder Wilkinson’s remarks weren’t exactly greeted with applause. Though he says he himself rented for several years when he was young, they sounded as though he just doesn’t get it.

Politicians these days love to talk about the middle class, and about how they’re fighting on behalf of those who struggle.

A lot of those same people they claim to be working for are renters who aren’t having any fun at all, and certainly aren’t having the madcap time of their lives Wilkinson seemed to be talking about from his privileged corner.

I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at mrothenburger@armchairmayor.ca.

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About Mel Rothenburger (6612 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – Renting isn’t the madcap time of life Wilkinson thinks it is

  1. John Noakes // March 4, 2019 at 6:32 AM // Reply

    Student loans, post secondary technical college, boarding house when in Toronto at college, renting and saving to have enough for that down payment; sounds familiar, Mel.

    When I lived in a boarding house in Toronto and then rented for a number of years, I guess there was an implicit trust that the rental accommodations met with fire codes for the number of people living there.
    Interestingly enough, some structures are built as single family places and that includes duplexes. They have been built to meet fire codes for the zoned application. The nicest people in the world can live there.
    In a case where advice was given to call bylaw enforcement about over-crowded parking and kind-of sort-of “keep poking the bear” about zoning infractions, it was also said that little else could be done.
    The nicest people in the world can live there but have no real understanding that in case of a structure fire, access to exits and firewall protection suddenly become issues. Those may become the points raised in a coroner’s inquest some day.
    Affordable housing is a need but safe affordable housing should be mandated by law.

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