Parksville and Qualicum Beach have seen a large demographic change in the past decade. They have become, on average, communities that are much wealthier and also much older. Many local businesspeople, realtors, developers and landowners have experienced an increase in their wealth as a result.
That said, two demographic groups appear to have lost out on the benefit of this new influx of wealth. Those groups are our younger families and our youth.
It would seem that, instead of prospering, they have been put to a greater disadvantage. Average house prices have risen from $179,000 to $351,000 in the past decade, putting new families into financial hardship and leaving many of those under 30 out of the market altogether.
Due to the shortage of local employment that pays a living wage, many of our young men have been compelled to leave and seek out a living elsewhere. For our young women, the situation seems worse, with many having to accept jobs that pay minimum wage or only slightly more.
For these groups, it would seem that the dream of owning a home and getting ahead is nearly impossible. Even if the youth do what they are told: graduate high school, take on student loans, attend university, delay marriage, delay buying a home and delay having children, there is still a real chance that they will not find gainful employment.
In a community with so much wealth, where so many of our residents own homes worth $300,000 plus, it is disturbing that a payment of $500 from Parksville Council to the Dry Grad committee would ruffle feathers.
Frank Williams, Oceanside Youth and Parents Association