Whitehorse: The Cathers government has bungled spending of federal housing money says Klondike MLA, Sandy Silver. After hiding the money for years, the government is now rushing to spend it with no comprehensive plan in place.
“Yukoners received confirmation that the government had been sitting on nearly $18 million in federal housing money after former Yukon Party Minister Jim Kenyon let it slip in 2011,” Silver said. “The government has been scrambling on the file ever since.”
“After sitting idle for years, in March, 2013 the government announced it was starting work on a Housing Action Plan for Yukon,” said Silver. “That action plan remains a work-in-progress with no recommendations to guide decision making. Now, however, the Cathers government has decided to jump in half way through and spend millions of dollars that it has been sitting on since 2006. It reeks of political considerations instead of proper planning. Coming from the same Minister who got the ball rolling on the Watson Lake hospital fiasco this unfortunately is no surprise.”
Silver says despite the years of bungling, there is no shortage of need for this funding in his community and throughout the territory and he is glad to see it finally going out the door. “If the Government had started developing its Housing Action Plan years ago, it would have a vision for how to spend this money by now. If they were going to spend it without a plan anyway, why did they wait so long,” asked Silver? “It really is a shame that the government sat on this money all these years, as Yukoners suffered through an acute housing shortage,” said Silver. “Like so many other capital funding projects this money has been mismanaged and used for political purposes instead of helping people who really need it.”
“Lack of affordable housing is certainly a problem in the Klondike and throughout the territory,” he continued. “It’s very disappointing that long-serving Yukon Party cabinet ministers were silent and let the former Premier keep this money locked away. The Minister who announced the funding today was at the cabinet table when the decision was made to sit on this money and he needs to explain why he allowed it to happen.”
Silver concluded by saying he hopes this attempt to create housing is better managed than the Yukon Party’s Lot 262 fiasco that saw no units constructed.
For additional information contact:
Jason Cunning 667-8942
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