qathet Living June 2022

Page 25

Company-built rooming houses once solved the local worker housing crisis

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s the struggle increases to enter the real estate market and the difficulty to find rentals worsens, perhaps we should consider bringing back a concept that was once more popular: boarding houses.

harder if you were not an employee of the mill. This is because prior to 1955, houses in the Townsite were reserved for employees of the PR Co. and other essential workers only. In 1913, Anna Piccoli and her two children moved from Italy to Powell River to join her husband, Giuseppe (Joe) Piccoli. At first, the family lived in tents in Lutzville (located by the old golf course). They lived in one, cooked in another, and the third housed 16 Italian boarders. Similarly, the Van Bilderbeek family from Holland found no house available in Powell River when they arrived in 1912. They pitched a large circus tent just outside the boundaries of Lot 450, waiting for the completion of the houses on Cedar Street. The solution to alleviate the housing shortage was boarding houses; private

BLAST FROM THE PAST JOËLLE SÉVIGNY When Powell River was developed by settlers in the early 1900s, there was never enough housing available. Mill workers would rent homes from the Powell River Company, however houses could not be built fast enough for all the workers arriving to town. This meant that there was a long wait list for the highly sought after homes. Finding housing was even

ROOM & BOARD: Top, the 1913 Avenue Lodge provided rooms to mill workers – two workers to a room, shared bathroom, and food provided in the dining room (above) – which is decorated for Christmas in this 1920s photo.

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Photo courtesy of the Powell River Historical Museum & Archives

Congratulations Class of 2022

We tip our hats to the graduating class of 2022 and wish you well in both your physically-distanced celebrations and your future endeavours. Watch the grad parade June 25th, starting at 5 pm. See route on Page 39. This space available to non-profit organizations, courtesy City Transfer

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qathet Living • June 2022 •

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