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Not homeless, or hopeless in Canmore

Editor: First and foremost, I want to tell you that I appreciate everything you are doing regarding the “Vanmore” situation. Many town and cities in North America are facing the same challenging time; even employees from Google are living the camper van life from across the street of work.

But, and with respect, I would like to clarify a few things. I am not homeless, I’m living in a different type of home. It is a home on wheels, with stove, microwave and television.  

I’m also a tour guide in the Bow Valley with a bachelor degree in marketing communication, working hard to present and promote this area.  I’m not sitting at the corner of the street asking for money with a sign that says “homeless, anything would help.”  But you can call me “parkless.”

As for the comments made by Councillor Vi Sandford that if a person cannot afford to live here, they should move on, I have to ask if she has ever heard of minimum wage? Or how about the ratio between wages in Canmore and the cost of living? 

So, basically, even if most of us can actually afford living here, for half our hard earn money, there is not a lot left for a normal life, even less for saving in order to buy a house for example.  

When it comes to staff accommodation, not everybody want to share a two bunk-bed bedroom with three strangers and there are any number of complicated situations that one encounters in shared living spaces that make life more difficult. 

Finally, and most importantly, what is the main problem? People coming up with their own solution to expensive housing in the Bow Valley?

Now for solutions. Let start with the three submitted by the town.  

The first option was that no one is allowed to overnight parking/camping at Elevation Place. Probable results: they are just going find others spots in town, meaning more work for bylaw.

Second was the status quo. So far so good. No crime, no trouble.  

Third was to prohibit parking between 7-9 a.m.  So imagine the traffic and ask yourself, where do people go to park for two hours in the morning?

I would suggest that a tag system that people have to put visible from the windshield of all registered/insured vehicles (like the Park Canada pass). This tag would need to be renewed every month if there were no complaints against the vehicle it belongs to. 

It would also only be given to those who are employed in the valley. 

One thing is for sure, as a community, we need to come up with a solution that would prove beneficial for everybody involved. 

I’m part of this community, and I’ve been for the last 12 years, I’m proud to call this “home” (you see, I’m not homeless). I just want to do my part, like they say, if your not part of the problem, you are part of the solution.

Sylvain Charest,