Four camping trailers parked on a sunny day.
Photo Credit: Izabela Mierzejewski / Unsplash

Can’t Afford Paradise – Campgrounds Jack Up Rents in Ucluelet

The summer tourists are coming

RVs are basically tiny houses on wheels. The trouble is, where do you park them?

The housing crunch is back in Ucluelet. Every spring, workers come in to the town for the summer and fall seasons, but there’s nowhere to rent.

Things were different for a while, though. With COVID, there were fewer seasonal workers. Campgrounds needed money to keep going, and people needed places to live. So residents like Patrick Mason got to stay longer than is normally allowed. Patrick told the Westerly News that he started renting a spot at Island West Resort in the fall of 2019. Normally campers can only stay for six months, but because of COVID, he’s been allowed to stay for a year and a half.

He paid a winter monthly rate of about $630, and then $950 during the summer months. But now that campers will be coming back to the Island, Island West Resort is going back to its daily rate of $50. The jump in price to $1500 a month has a lot of long-term residents packing their RVs and moving out.

Island West Resort’s grounds manager Ron Barker told Westerly News that they can’t afford to keep the COVID monthly rates going. “We’ll go broke. The company might as well close the doors.” He said business has been tough over the past year because of the travel restrictions. Like many local businesses, they need a strong summer season to survive the quieter winters.

Ironically, Island West is also having trouble finding workers, and he thinks Ucluelet’s new seasonal worker housing project might help. “There is no real place to rent in this town.” The pilot project gives out permits to people to park RVs on their property. “Maybe it will give more opportunities for people to have a place to stay and then they can work up here because there is a shortage of workers up here.”