If this year has a theme, it seems to be all about leaving. Every place I turn I am either learning that dear friends are leaving the city, neighbours are moving away or I land on a garage sale because the residents have decided to move to another province.
The reason everyone is leaving?
It’s too expensive to live here when you have children.
At first, I thought it was just a matter of a few acquaintances who perhaps had gotten fed up with being house poor. To tell you the truth, the people I know who are house poor seem to be the ones who are most insistent that Dix and I jump into the housing market. I’m not quite sure why this is except that perhaps misery loves company. I’m not anxious to deal with a broken water heater or a leaking basement at the same time as paying for daycare. Call me crazy (might as well, many others do).
In fact, it’s more than just being house poor. There are people in our complex, co-workers, friends from other walks of my life that rent and are also leaving this city. Why? Cost of living.
It seems that whether you are renting or not, the cost of raising a family in Victoria is too much. Daycare is too hard to find. Jobs are scarce. Income is not rising with the rest of the market. Family cannot afford to move here to share the burden.
Is this an old story? I’m not sure. Perhaps it is. Whatever the case, I’ve noticed a sharp increase lately – particularly this summer.
And I’m sad.
I love the life we’ve carved out here. We live close to work (my work, anyway) and school. We have wonderful friends (at least, those who are still slugging it out with us here). The climate is beautiful. The air smells sweet. People recycle like it is second nature. I don’t have to explain why I’m against pesticides. Eliza doesn’t know what a cigarette is and Franklin is shocked whenever he sees someone smoking.
This place suits us.
We love it.
But the truth of it is, as every single one of the people I’ve spoken with over the course of this year have said, you just can’t get ahead in this city. You float. If you are lucky, you float. If you are not, you sink deeper and deeper until eventually, the exorbitant cost of moving your entire family to another province, uprooting your life, becomes your only solution.
Will this happen to us as well?