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Seasonal staff at Vernon's Silver Star mountain struggle to find housing

Evelin Forneris and her boyfriend Donald Lauder are pictured in this photo from Facebook.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK
September 26, 2017 - 2:30 PM

'WE APPLIED TO SO MANY PLACES IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY'

VERNON - Locals aren’t the only ones finding it hard to get rental housing in the Vernon area.

Seasonal staff at Silver Star Mountain Resort say it’s easier to secure a job than a place to stay, and that could mean not coming back this year for some returning employees.

Evelin Forneris and her boyfriend have both worked at Silver Star in the past and are hoping to do one more stint there this winter before moving back to Australia. But first they have to find a place to stay — a hunt they started back in July.

“We applied to so many places it’s not even funny,” Forneris says.

The resort does have two dormitory-style accommodations on hand for staff — the Asgard Hostel and the Silver Lode — but couples and mature staff often want a more private setting, Forneris says. And once you get out of staff housing, she says there is very little available — especially if you want to be right on the mountain, which most staff do.

“You always try to stay positive,” Forneris says. “We are always open; if we happen to find something we’ll do it, or we’ll go home.”

Joe Doak, from Australia, is also looking for a place, preferably on the mountain, but isn’t having much luck.

“My friend who worked there last season has been helping me a lot but even she says its really tough this year compared to others for accommodation,” Doak says.

It’s a challenge the resort’s human resources director Alison Krick is well aware of.

“It’s been becoming an issue,” Krick says, adding most resorts are experiencing the trend. “It’s a mixture of reasons — Airbnb, private rentals.”

Noticing the trend, the resort took proactive steps in 2016 by purchasing a hostel for staff accommodation — now known as the Asgard — which added to what they already had at the Silver Lode. 

“What we’re finding this year is people that come back year after year, as they age, they’ve been through the staff housing and are looking for more private rentals and they’re having a real difficulty this year, probably the most challenging we’ve ever seen,” Krick says.

Between its two staff housing facilities, the resort can accommodate just under 300 people. Every winter, there are about 520 paid positions at the resort, Krick says.

Krick says the staff housing is also used up by local employees looking for a mountain experience.

“Even when we’ve hired locals, they want to live on the hill and be part of that environment,” she says.

Unfortunately, it’s not much easier finding accommodation off the mountain.

“Even if people decide to live in Vernon and ride the bus up, they’re even finding that difficult,” Krick says.

Despite the housing challenges, Krick says the resort is still able to retain enough workers for the winter season.

“I think what tends to happen is we do have enough staff, but it’s those ones returning, if they can’t find the accommodation they want, they may or may not come back, and that can be a bit of a worry, but generally we find enough staff,” Krick says.

Get caught up on the Vernon housing issues here.


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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2017
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