Squamish to Burnaby - a 'great commute' for an affordable lifestyle

More British Columbians looking to buy homes in Metro Vancouver are asking what they can really get for their money - and whether they should venture further out of town.

Commuter Craig Cherlet says he was drawn to Squamish by easy access to nature and affordable housing

Squamish offers affordable housing in a natural setting an hour's drive from Vancouver. (Arnaud DG/Flickr)

Four days a week, Lower Mainland resident Craig Cherlet leaves his home in Squamish, B.C. around 6 or 7 a.m. PT to make the hour-long drive to his work in Burnaby.

"I love it. It's absolutely a great commute to be honest," Cherlet told The Early Edition.

"The scenery, the natural landscape makes the commute quite pleasant and really the traffic or lack thereof makes it very good as well."

Cherlet moved to Squamish in Oct. 2011, drawn by the easy access to nature, as well as the cost of housing.

That relative affordability is part of a bigger trend, says real estate agent Darren McCartney.

"I think that over 50 per cent [of people who move here], maybe even as much as 70 per cent … are looking at affordability, saying, 'Look what I can get for my money from a lifestyle standpoint.'"

McCartney said since the Olympics, when the province undertook big improvements on the Sea-to-Sky Highway which connects Squamish and Vancouver, he's seen a lot more growth — which has bumped up prices.

"I think on the residential side, we've seen values pushing up in the five to seven per cent range … so definitely growth, but a lot of room for growth by Lower Mainland standards when you look at what other suburbs are doing and what we have to offer," he said.

Cherlet worries that growth could mean more traffic on his commute. His goal is to eventually ditch the drive, by establishing his own business in Squamish.

"I think it's going to grow. I think [Squamish] will become a little bit more self-sufficient in that more businesses will grow there," he said.

CBC Radio's The Early Edition will be live in Squamish on March 13. Join us at Chef Big D's at 38040 Cleveland Avenue from 5 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. PT.


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