LETTER: Stats misleading due to unlicensed STA’s

I sure hope we didn’t pay too much to have Professor David Wachsmuth, Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance, tell County Council about short-term accommodations and the housing crisis.

Wachsmuth’s findings were based on STA registration data, that is to say he only took account of licensed and registered STA’s. To give an idea of his margin of error, according to the County map of STA’s, within about a five km radius of where I live, there are only two STA’s.

In reality there are at least five. At least three don’t appear on the map, which suggests they are unlicensed and unregistered. The impact of these three unregistered STA’s is to remove two full-sized winterized single family homes, and one facility with several fully serviced rooms, shared bathrooms and kitchen, from availability to local people.

Prior to becoming STA’s all three provided adequate, stable, affordable housing for local people. This huge loss of housing, which totally eclipses the loss of housing associated with the licensed STA’s in the same area, is not even on the County’s or the distinguished professor’s radar. If unlicensed STA’s outnumber the registered ones in my little area, there’s a pretty good chance this is going on in other areas too.

Wachsmuth concluded STA’s weren’t having a huge impact on the local housing market. Just what Council wanted to hear. Perhaps with his brilliant credentials, Wachsmuth could tell Council about the possible harms to people suffering from lack of housing of making recommendations and acting on conclusions based on numbers that are possibly out by 150 per cent or more.

But even if he did, Council would not likely care. They deliberately got an outsider with high credentials, and no idea what is really going on here, to look at their bogus data, in order to give it the ring of truth.

Rosalind Adams