Once again, we moved our weekly meeting to Camp’s porch because of the rising numbers of infections and the indoor closure of pubs and restaurants.
‘The numbers are going up and the vaccine ooze-out is like molasses flowing uphill,’ I complained when I sat down on the bench beside Camp, facing the view of the north shore mountains and Gambier Island.
‘Yes, it’s discouraging and exhausting at the same time,’ Camp said, handing me a can of Coast Life lager from the local farm brewery. ‘Just think a year ago, we were all banging pots and watching covid-aid concerts, supporting the front-line workers. Now, a year later, not even teachers are considered front-line workers but we expect them to teach our kids and keep them safe at the same time and nobody is banging pots for them.’
‘Everybody that works with the public is a front-line worker these days and not everybody can work from home. Not mechanics, warehouse, construction and factory workers, dentists, hairdressers, pilots, film workers, bus drivers, servers and every job that needs a body to do the work.’
‘Most transmissions still happen in crowded and badly ventilated indoor spaces, like warehouses or factories and religious gatherings where the congregation believes that the lord will protect them but pubs by the seaside and local restaurants are not to blame.’
‘Well, they didn’t ask us my friend, and yes, the world is in a mess. Just look at the disaster in Brazil where this virus is literally out of control and ravaging not just their health systems but the whole population.’
‘And despite rising covid numbers here, everything is going up as well: the stock market is on a bull run and housing prices are going through the roof, as are building materials.’
‘As are our national and personal debts, divorce rates and suicides,’ Camp said.
‘Does it make any sense that there is such a mad run-on real estate at this time and why does a sheet of 5/8” plywood cost sixty bucks, more than double from a year ago? Meanwhile my neighbour who is a beach comber can’t even sell his logs?’
‘Well, money is cheap and there is a kind of dam-the-torpedoes or dam-the-pandemic mood prevailing and house constructions are also on a record pace. Supply and demand I guess,’ Camp said.
‘I guess there is a large demographic money transfer from the property rich boomers to their offspring taking place. Also with all those thousands of people working from home they would rather live in a house in Gibsons than in an apartment in Burnaby?’ I said, finishing my beer.
‘That explains some of why the house prices here on the Sunshine Coast have gone way up. According to one real-estate agent, as of December 2020, the Sunshine Coast was now officially the hottest property market in the province and it has only gone up since then. The median detached house price has jumped a $ 100’000 since last year and now stands at $850’000. Double that and you have the typical price for a detached home in Greater Vancouver. How insane is that?’
‘How long will this bubble grow? I know we ask that question every year and every year the prices are up and there is no end in sight.’
‘A house in North Vancouver near Lonsdale Quay in 1970 was about $ 15’000 and a brand-new medium size car less than $ 2’000,’ Camp pointed out.
‘And what have we achieved since then? The internet, the smart phone, earbuds and electric cars. More gizmos and widgets than anybody could have imagined.’
‘Welcome to the biggest shopping centre in the Universe: Planet Earth.’
‘Let’s consume another beer, please, to ease the frustration.’
‘And help he local economy,’ Camp said, popping the tab on a fresh, cold can.