Vancouver City Manager runs thriving Airbnb on island facing housing crisis

Vancouver City Manager runs a thriving Airbnb on Cortes Island – a small island struggling with a crushing housing crisis caused by landlords listing properties for short-term rentals instead of long-term rentals to residents.

Sadhu Aufochs Johnston and his wife Manda Aufochs Gillespie have converted their second home on the island into “Rainbows End Guest House”.

Reviews on the list show Airbnb has been busy throughout the year despite the pandemic, with Johnston and Gillespie welcoming guests from as far away as the UK.

Johnston, who has been in charge of the plan to make Vancouver the “greenest city” in the world by 2020, his mission, flies regularly to work from the island between Vancouver Island and the mainland coast. of British Columbia.

“Housing reports show affordable, long-term rental is difficult
on Cortes, in part because of the number of properties listed on short-term rental websites (especially during the summer months), ”the Strathcona Regional District, the local government responsible for the island of Cortes. “This causes stress for the islanders who wish to have a home port but find themselves evicted at the start of the tourist season, or who have to pay exorbitant rents to stay in place.”

Johnston himself recognized the problem and wrote to the regional district to support the increase in density to increase the supply of housing on the Isle of Cortes.

“I am the general manager of Vancouver, but I live in Cortes with my wife and two children. I am very familiar with the challenges of changing land use to increase housing availability, ”Johnston wrote to the regional district council. “I am also very familiar with the extreme challenges that result from the limited supply of affordable housing. “

“Cortes urgently needs more housing, especially non-profit rental housing for low to moderate income islanders,” adds Johnston. “The low to moderate income people of Cortes live in very unsanitary and temporary housing. To help these islanders stay in Cortes, we need accessible housing for them.

Meanwhile, recent data suggests that more than half of all Airbnb listings in Vancouver appear to violate the City of Vancouver’s short-term rental rules.

The city has also come under fire for allocating half of all seats on a short-term rental advisory committee to Airbnb hosts, including scofflaws.

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