The BC NDP continues to ‘talk a big game’ about housing while delaying the necessary action to implement real change for struggling British Columbians, the BC Liberals announced in a Dec. 11 press release.
Responding to the recent release of the government-issued interim report, Future of Housing Supply and Affordability, the BC Liberals said the report will not translate into relief for British Columbians, with the public engagement extending into next year.
“Though the work on this report is welcomed and does carry with it ideas that are worth exploring, it still highlights this government’s abysmally slow progress on the housing file,” Ben Stewart BC Liberal housing critic, said.
However, it isn’t so that the government has been slow, Jennifer Rice NDP MLA for the North Coast told The Northern View.
“For 16 years, the BC Liberals put their rich donors first and did nothing while housing prices soared out of the reach of ordinary people,” she said. “Their neglect of this issue is the primary reason we find ourselves in the situation we are in today, where far too many people all around the province can’t find an affordable place to live.”
The report states it focuses on three key areas being: governance, or how governments control or influence the supply of housing; the diversity of housing for all income levels and tenures; and accelerating and adding certainty to the process for adding new supply.
“What this report fails to do is provide the actionable ideas and bold steps needed to make a difference for struggling British Columbians now,” Stewart said.
Rice said, from day one the BC NDP government has made affordable housing a priority with more than $7 billion committed to building the homes that people need. The results being more than 25,000 new homes already completed.
“We’re the first provincial government to build much-needed housing on reserve. We’ve taken actions to protect renters by limiting rent increases and expanded rental assistance for low-income families and seniors,” Rice said of action already taken.
Stewart said the state of B.C.’s housing crisis now belongs solely in the hands of the NDP.
“So, expectations are high that they can deliver on their promises. I can only hope that the full report, once tabled in spring, will translate directly into some real results on the housing file,” Stewart said. “In the meantime, we will continue to advocate for actionable solutions such as tax incentives and zoning reforms that would help increase housing supply.”
Additionally, the latest BC Housing capital report shows that just 2,963 of the promised 114,000 units of housing were actually opened by the NDP, the BC Liberals said and no additional reports have been published since early 2020.
Rice said those 114,000 units of housing are included in a ten-year, 30 point plan, launched in 2018, of which the government working with community partners has already made housing available on the North Coast. The plan also introduced new measures aimed at curbing speculative demand that has driven up the cost of living.
“In the North Coast, we’ve built over 200 homes for people, with more on the way. This includes:
-36 homes at Crow’s Nest Lodge, and 48 homes at the old Raffles Inn for people experiencing homelessness in Prince Rupert, as well as shelter spaces for an additional 35 people
-60 units with the Lax Kw’alaams Waap Housing Society for low-income families
-32 seniors’ units at Metlakatla Cedar Village in Prince Rupert
-28 units in Lax Kw’alaams for Elders and families
-8 units of seniors’ housing in Port Edward,”
“We’ve built more units in Haida Gwaii, Bella Bella, and around our region,” Rice said.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us to do on this issue, and that’s why we are continuing to support and build affordable housing at a fast pace, for people of all different needs and income levels,” Rice said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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