NDP leader John Horgan and Victoria MLAs Carole James and Rob Fleming visit a townhouse project with units set aside for below-market housing, built in 1996. (TOM FLETCHER/BLACK PRESS)

John Horgan protests delay in housing reform

Christy Clark renews warning about Site C delays

NDP leader John Horgan says the rental housing shortage in B.C. can’t wait for the political showdown playing out in slow motion at the B.C. legislature, as the B.C. Liberal government looks to extend its fragile minority to at least the end of June.

In the latest of a series of campaign-style events he has continued since the inconclusive election result of May 9, Horgan targeted B.C. Liberal inaction on rental housing. At a subsidized housing project in Victoria Tuesday, Horgan said the choice of Skeena B.C. Liberal MLA Ellis Ross to take over responsibility for housing is another delay.

Ross was sworn in as minister responsible for natural gas and housing Monday, taking over from Deputy Premier Rich Coleman in a full-scale cabinet appointment for a B.C. Liberal government expected to last little more than a week when the legislature resumes sitting June 22.

“It strikes me as odd that Rich Coleman would have held onto the housing file for 15 years, and then at the 11th hour it’s passed on to a rookie MLA from the Northwest,” Horgan said. “We had a whole bunch of outstanding questions for Mr. Coleman about the practices of his team when it came to housing, and the deals they were doing with developers in the Lower Mainland.”

The NDP has pressed for a change to the Residential Tenancy Act to rein in the use of sbort-term leases by landlords, used to circumvent rent increase restrictions and impose higher rents in a new lease. They say a near-zero rental vacancy rate in Metro Vancouver and southern Vancouver Island has produced a variety of tactics to increase rent, including eviction of tenants for minor renovations that also allow a new rental rate.

“When you have landlords that put a coat of paint on an existing building and jack up the rent, that’s the fundamental problem,” Horgan said.

Premier Christy Clark, meanwhile, has renewed her request to Horgan to clarify what the pending NDP-Green alliance will do with the Site C dam project on the Peace River in northeast B.C.

In her second letter to Horgan, released Tuesday, Clark says she has asked B.C. Hydro to extend the lease by another two weeks to mid-July on two homes that are in the way of a road construction project.

“The tender for this road construction portion of the project is scheduled to be released this week, with the bridge construction tender to follow shortly,” Clark wrote.

BC Hydro executives presented their timeline at a briefing in Victoria last week, describing a “domino effect” from the road and bridge realignment that would trigger a year-long delay in river diversion works. That delay would produce cost overruns totalling $630 million, BC Hydro estimates.

Just Posted

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

Falcons host basketball invitational

40 student volunteers helped support 180 players, 28 games

Atom Stars host hockey tourney

Seven teams from the region clashed sticks

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Whistler role in potential Calgary Olympic bid would be welcome: IOC

Calgary is mulling whether to vie for the 2026 Games, and could look to facilities in B.C.

Most Read