For years, residents of the Niagara Falls, Ont., region have struggled to find affordable housing.
Many have had to move back in with family members, and the region’s unemployment rate has hovered around 10 per cent.
But this year, loews hotels, including the popular Loews Niagara in downtown Niagara Falls opened their doors to the public, bringing many residents in to a place that’s not so accessible.
“It was pretty hard to find a place to live in Niagara Falls,” said James Bower, a former resident of the area.
“Loews Niagara has changed that.
It’s a great hotel for the people that live in it.
It has good amenities, good food, and you can do all the things you can in Toronto.
It really is a good place.”
James Bower of Niagara Falls.
(CBC)The Loews Hotel Niagara opened its doors to guests in March, allowing them to stay in the same suite as other hotel guests for up to seven nights, as well as for the cost of a single night.
Guests can choose to stay with their spouse, or partner, or even a family member, or their children.
“There’s a lot of people here who want to move,” said Joe Graziano, who has lived in the Niagara area for 20 years.
“You get the opportunity to move around, and it’s great.”
Joe Grazian, who owns the Loews hotel in Niagara.
(John Wiedefeld/CBC)Joe Bower says he’s been living at the Loewes Niagara for about two years, and says he was surprised to find out that it is affordable.
“It’s a nice hotel for a few hundred bucks,” he said.
“There are some amenities you can’t find in Toronto, and that’s nice.
It gives you the flexibility to be flexible with your budget, and to do what you want.””
I’m happy to be a part of this.”
But the hotel has attracted a lot more people than the average hotel in the region.
And many locals aren’t happy with the decision.
“I don’t really think it’s a big deal, and people that work in this business know it’s not a big issue,” said a resident of nearby Windsor, Ont.
“The issue is the number of guests that come, and how many of them can afford to pay the full price.”‘
We just didn’t know how many people we could accommodate’Since the hotel opened in March to the general public, guests have been filling the rooms and staying longer than usual.
“We just couldn’t find room for everyone, and they were staying in the suites longer than normal,” said Adam LeBlanc, a resident and hotel manager.
“So we just didn to accommodate that and made a decision that we just couldn`t do it.”
The hotel says that since it opened, the occupancy rate has remained fairly steady, with guests staying at the hotel for more than seven nights.
“We have an occupancy rate of 4.5 per cent for the month of May,” said the hotel’s website.
But some residents are not happy with this figure.
“I think we’re all pretty happy that we were able to keep this low occupancy rate, but we just don’t know the true cost of the hotel,” said LeBlac.
“They have so many amenities, and we just just didn t know how much room we could afford to keep them,” he continued.
“What you are left with is an overcrowded place that you have to pay for the last month, and so many people.”
As a result, LeBlanch said that many residents are feeling left out.
“For the first month, it was great,” he added.
“But now, it’s pretty much a struggle.”