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
I rise on behalf of the Yukon Liberal Party to pay tribute to Waste Reduction Week. Nationally, Waste Reduction Week is held in the third week of October each year. On Monday night, City Council declared that October 20 to 26 would be observed as Waste Reduction Week in Whitehorse.
Waste Reduction Week calls for all citizens, all Canadians, to adapt more environmentally conscientious choices in our everyday lives. The national Waste Reduction Week website provides resources to give people ideas to reduce waste in all facets of daily life. Reducing waste is one small solution every citizen can do to help with the many environmental challenges we face.Read more
I rise on behalf of the Yukon Liberal Party to pay tribute to Poverty and Homelessness Action Week, which ran from October 16 to 22. Since 2005, this week has raised awareness for the plight of hunger and homelessness throughout community engagement activities.
As mentioned, this year’s theme was food security as a pertinent issue for us in the north. We all know our lifeline to the south may be very fragile. Food insecurity in the Yukon is a concern that affects us all. The need for programs to help fight food insecurity has steadily been rising in Whitehorse. According to the Whitehorse Food Bank’s monthly statistics, 585 households in our communities needed to use the food bank in September, and this is an increase of 11 percent from September of last year. Much of this need is attributed to the rising cost of living here in the Yukon.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
Mr. Silver: Last year, the Government of Yukon completed a risk assessment of the territory’s search and rescue capabilities. The objective was to assess the capabilities of the territory’s search and rescue program to respond to incidents, to identify areas of greatest concern and to address those concerns.
This is an issue that I have raised before with the Minister of Environment about what types of services were available in Tombstone, for example. The report made several recommendations and said — and I quote: “The existing level of service for search and rescue may not meet the perceived needs in the future.”
How has the government responded to this report?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question about the Klondike Valley fire hall. Recent renovations to the fire hall have turned it into more of a water distribution centre than a fire station. A project to drill a well was delayed several times and missed many completion dates. The renovations caused considerable disruptions to the activities of the volunteer fire department. When I asked the minister about a possible solution to this issue last fall, he said that, number one, moving the volunteer fire department across the highway to the airport would not be considered, and, two, he did recognize the problem and said — and I quote: “Certainly if there are pressures on the space requirements at the fire hall … we will give consideration to that and we will not rule out the possibility of considering renovations or additional storage space.”
Does the one-billion dollar budget contain any funding for this proposal?Read more
Mr. Silver: I have a question for the Minister of Highways and Public Works about the Dawson waste-water treatment project. Earlier this year, officials from the minister’s department put the operating cost to run this new facility at $340,000. People I’ve spoken to in Dawson think that this number might be a little bit unrealistic and don’t believe that the amount will even cover the fuel bill, let alone operations of the facility. The municipality of Dawson should not be left on the hook if the costs to operate this building are higher than expected.
If the bill does come in higher than $340,000, will the Government of Yukon cover this extra cost?Read more