Letter to the Editor - Affordable Housing

Dear Editor:

The Cathers/Pasloski government has failed in spectacular fashion.

Its flip-flop on the use of federal housing money hurts the working poor. It hurts contractors and landlords and non-government agencies. And it hurts Yukoners.

Yukoners in low-wage jobs now face another needless delay in their access to affordable housing, probably for years.

Local anti-poverty groups have just learned, once again, how little influence hard work and sound research has on this tone-deaf government.

Private developers, who, in good faith, invested time, effort and significant money into Yukon Housing Corporation’s request-for-proposal process, have now seen the development unilaterally cancelled at the last minute.

Brad Cathers’ stop-work order undermined the independence of the Yukon Housing Corporation Board. It will be hard for its members to regain their authority to govern the Crown Corporation.

Local contractors and tradespeople who are suffering in the wake of the current economic slowdown were depending on these projects. Now they are scrounging for work. 

Landlords, who have worked closely with the Yukon Party government in the past, were ambushed by this government’s impulsive lack-of-planning process. They successfully bent the government’s will.  But the exercise undermines the government’s decision-making process.

By now, nobody should be surprised.

FH Collins, the Dawson City Wastewater Treatment Plant, the new Whitehorse ambulance station and a host of other major capital projects have been colossal bungles.

Add housing to this growing list.

The Yukon Party is the territory’s land developer. It failed to ensure adequate housing lot supply. Then ministers Cathers, Elaine Taylor and Scott Kent decided to hoard the federal housing money through the unprecedented affordable housing crisis the lot shortage created.

Now the economic boom has passed and the government has lurched to build the affordable housing it failed to provide earlier.

Then, after failing to properly consult with landlords and property owners, it reversed course again, abandoning the working poor, contractors and private developers in the process.

This is astonishing.

Cathers says he’ll announce how the remaining federal money will be spent in due course.

And with that terse remark, he caps another failure. A failure to plan. To execute. To deliver something of value to Yukoners.

What can Yukoners count on?

That the Yukon Party government will say one thing, and do another.



Sandy Silver

MLA, Klondike