Charlottetown — The apartment vacancy rate on Prince Edward Island has been steadily approaching zero over the past year. Businesses hoping to attract new workers and communities wanting more residents are finding it harder and harder to convince anyone to stay, if only because there is nowhere for them to actually stay.
After a year of hemming and hawing, the province’s premier has come up with a last-minute solution to the problem.
“It’s been coming for quite a while. But we just couldn’t figure out what to do about it until now,” said Premier Wade MacLauchlan. “In fact, I’ve just been informed that our vacancy rate has somehow hit the negatives. We were already at the point where we were asking complete strangers to move in together, even share single beds, just to make space.”
The new plan proposed by the province is to force current tenants who have lived in the same apartment for three years or more to pack up and move to Port Elgin, New Brunswick, where a bus will pick them up to bring them to P.E.I. every morning for work, and back home every evening.
“Of course it goes without saying that those who take the bus will each be given a generous 20 percent discount on the crossing fee every day.,” explained MacLaughlan.
Outraged Islander Burt McKinley has no plans to move out of his bachelor apartment in Tignish that the province forced him to share with a large family.
“It’s a two-hour drive each way! Probably more with stops. My shift starts at 8 a.m., so there goes pretty much my whole day. Actually, pretty much my whole life,” fumed McKinley, who works at Tignish Elementary School. “And don’t even get me started on that bridge fee! I am sure as hell not paying a fee every single day for something the province is forcing on us.”
Other affected Islanders echoed their dislike of the proposal, suggesting alternative solutions.
“Why don’t they just start housing newcomers in government buildings?” mused Leslie Thomas. “Those things are full of large unused space. And all the drab colours and white noise from the old air circulation systems will make sure people can fall asleep easily.”
As usual, New Brunswickers are also angry because something is changing.
“I don’t want those Islanders coming over here tracking their red dirt all over Port Elgin!” screamed local unemployed single man Jordie Dunbar. “Any time people from away come to New Brunswick, they steal our jobs and our women. Keep your potato-peelin’ hands to yourself!”