A rise of gentrification in Waterloo


File Photo by Heather Davidson
File Photo by Heather Davidson

For those not in the know, gentrification occurs when urban areas begin to grow beyond their own means. This means that certain lower-valued property areas are bought up by large corporations and developed and lower-income people that have traditionally lived in these areas can no longer afford to have homes in that area.

Such is what has been happening in the greater Waterloo Region over the past number of years with the huge expansion of student-only residences that are not university affiliated, as well as with the construction of the ION. Coinciding with this land development has also been a significant drop in employment with companies such as BlackBerry, Schneiders, Toyota and many other former major employer’s either cutting back or closing down completely.

So what does this mean to you as a student? It means that your rent is extremely high and that without the possibility or assistance of OSAP or being able to get at least a part-time job there is no way you can possibly afford to even pay your rent, let alone be able to afford luxuries or perhaps even your tuition.

What does this mean to the people in the community that you see while you are on the GRT or walking around downtown? It means many of them are either homeless or over-housed in homes or apartments that are poorly maintained or very expensive.

They become dependent on the social system as there is no way that they can get out of the endless cycle of being able to escape from it. Despite the fact they have years of experience, they have difficulty gaining employment or can not even afford to take the bus to get to interviews if they are even able to get an interview competing against the hundreds of other applicants for the same position.

Gentrification has been observed in many other large Canadian cities, many of which you are probably from. And maybe affected areas of those cities where you used to live at some point. It has left a swath of damage in its wake with ultimately no one winning out on it.

For the time you are living here it effects you locally, but it is something that you are certainly going to look at once you graduate and begin looking for a career or job somewhere across this great land of ours.

Pay attention to this issue especially now with a federal election coming up. Ask your local candidates, whether you are voting here in K-W or still back in your home riding, what their plans are to deal with this issue as well as their party’s strategy. See what they have in the works to deal with this exponentially increasing crisis.

You might not be paying taxes now, but your parents or guardians are and you certainly will be once you graduate.

Take the steps now to ensure that the government is doing something immediately to ensure that gentrification is something that will fall out of place to ensure that more of us graduates will be able to support ourselves and not have to depend on “the man” for support.

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Serving the Waterloo campus, The Cord seeks to provide students with relevant, up to date stories. We’re always interested in having more volunteer writers, photographers and graphic designers.