A small wooden house surrounded by trees. It has a large porch and slanted roof.

Photo Credit: ArmbrustAnna / Pixabay

Could a New Co-op Build Homes for Ucluelet?

The housing crunch just keeps getting worse

More people want to visit Ucluelet, but where the heck are the workers going to live?

A group of small business people are trying to solve an old problem in Ucluelet. They want to build affordable homes for workers who have trouble finding places to live.

But instead of building houses and letting the market decide how expensive they are, a group of businesses would own the houses together, kind of like a farmers co-op. Members of the co-op would be able to rent those houses to their workers.

The number of people who live in Ucluelet changes with the seasons, and it has always been that way. When the town first got started, people would come into town for logging season.

But now that Ucluelet is a tourist hub, people who work in the tourism industry come at the same time as the tourists. It creates a major crunch when it comes to housing.

Randy Oliwa, president of the Pac Rim Home Development Cooperative, is one of the people trying to fix that crunch. He told the Capital Daily Podcast that workers have had to get very creative in where they find their housing in Ucluelet.

In 2019, he and a group of small business people started the co-op. They found that it was hard to plan and grow their businesses when they didn’t know if their workers would have anywhere to live. It’s hard to keep good staff if they don’t have homes.

So far the co-op is still in the planning stages. Originally they planned to build 40 tiny homes. Mustafa Kulkhan, a consultant for the project, told the Capital Daily Podcast that the price of lumber has changed their plans a bit, and now they’re looking at building townhouses or apartments.

The co-op has put in a request for 2.5 acres of land with the District of Ucluelet, but they’re still waiting to hear back. Once they’ve got land leased, it will be easier to apply for grants and other money to build the houses.