Mr. Silver: In this year’s budget, there is $240,000 for a housing action plan. This is good news. The bad news is that it has been over two years since a former Yukon Party minister proudly boasted his government’s plan to develop a housing action plan for Yukoners. It was March of 2013 when this announcement was first made.
Two years later, Yukon residents who have, and continue to struggle with, housing issues are asking, “Where is the plan?” This is yet another item that falls under the unfinished-business column when it comes to this government’s track record.
The question is: When will this long-overdue plan be released to the public?Read more
Dear Mr. Editor:
I began the fall sitting by calling for the resignation of Community Services Minister Brad Cathers, over his bungling of the affordable housing file. On October 27, Whitehorse Mayor and Council echoed my call for Cathers’ resignation due to his failure to work with municipalities on this important issue.
For eight years, the Cathers/Pasloski government sat on millions of federal housing dollars while residents faced high rents and limited options. This spring announcements were finally made to move forward on partnership projects with the private sector. However, in the face of pressure from special interests closely linked to the Yukon Party, Brad Cathers cancelled plans for 75 new affordable rental units over the summer.Read more
Mr. Silver: I began this sitting with a call for the resignation of the minister responsible for the Housing Corporation over the mishandling of $17 million of affordable housing money. That was echoed, of course, only a few days later by the City of Whitehorse.
Again this week, there has been renewed criticism from the Chamber of Commerce and housing advocates over this government’s mismanagement plan to spend some of the money on energy-efficiency rebates.
When the minister went back to the drawing board this spring, after cancelling plans for affordable housing units, he said, “Stay tuned.” Yukoners are still waiting. I’ll give the minister an opportunity to explain the motion that he tabled here today. Does the government actually plan to spend any of the remaining funding on affordable housing?Read more
Despite promises, plans and money from Ottawa, there is another winter’s snow, but no new affordable rental housing, on the ground in Whitehorse.
For eight years, the Cathers/Pasloski government sat on millions of federal housing dollars while residents faced high rents and limited options.
This summer, in the face of pressure from special interests closely linked to the Yukon Party, Brad Cathers cancelled plans for 75 new affordable rental units.Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Premier.
Many Yukoners no longer trust the government when it comes to affordable housing, and with good reason. They have been burned by this government too often and now they have no confidence in the minister. Over the last three years, we have seen this government’s lack of action result in criticism from housing advocates, the Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Yukon Communities, and several businesses as well.
We also saw the City of Whitehorse take the extraordinary step of asking for the removal of the current minister because of his unwillingness to work with them on affordable housing. In a statement yesterday, the Premier carefully avoided directly backing the minister, so I will ask him this question: Does the Premier have confidence in the housing minister?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Premier. Many Yukoners have lost confidence in the minister responsible for Yukon Housing Corporation. Here is what the Yukon Chamber of Commerce had to say about the dealings with the minister: The decision to scrap the plans for 75 affordable housing units in Whitehorse could — and I quote: “erode the trust” in the request for proposals process. Here is a quote from the chair of the Chamber of Commerce — and I quote: “You really run the risk of having businesses ask the question of whether these government RFPs are worth bidding. What does it mean if they can simply overturn them? That’s not dealing in good faith.”
Does the Premier agree with the criticism from the chamber, or with his minister who says everything is fine on the affordable housing issue?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Premier. It has now been three years since this government has taken office. The entire time, the government has been sitting on these millions of dollars in affordable housing from Ottawa. Plenty of time has passed for the minister responsible to find a way to spend this money and to address the obvious need in our territory and he has failed to do so. This summer a plan the government has been touting for some time was scrapped at the last minute.
My question is to the Premier: How long does he intend to allow the minister responsible for the Yukon Housing Corporation to fumble around on this file before replacing him?Read more
Mr. Silver: In February of this year, the minister issued a news release about the Yukon Housing Corporation’s affordable rental housing development competition. At that time, the minister commented — and I quote: “Announcements on the successful proponents and their projects are anticipated in April.”
It is now the middle of May and we are well into this year’s building season. My question is: When will these projects be announced so that people can get to work on them?Read more