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MLA’s CORNER: Housing remains a province-wide challenge

We know that housing affordability is one of the most difficult challenges facing our province right now. It’s most often discussed in the context of Metro Vancouver where prices have hit astronomical highs in the last few years. While it’s true that our province’s urban centres have seen some of the largest price increases, it’s important to realize that affordability is not just a big city issue.
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Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)

We know that housing affordability is one of the most difficult challenges facing our province right now. It’s most often discussed in the context of Metro Vancouver where prices have hit astronomical highs in the last few years. While it’s true that our province’s urban centres have seen some of the largest price increases, it’s important to realize that affordability is not just a big city issue.

Right here in Williams Lake we have seen a steady increase in housing prices over the last five years. It’s estimated last year alone we saw as much as a 10 per cent rise in costs. A similar phenomenon was observed in other Interior and Northern communities, like Quesnel, Prince George, and Smithers.

In an effort to combat rising home prices, the NDP government recently unveiled their list of municipalities for which they will be setting new housing targets, with the aim of increasing housing supply and improving affordability.

Now, B.C. undeniably needs more housing, and it’s true that increasing housing targets for communities will help address this issue. However, it’s impossible to miss the blatant hypocrisy in the NDP telling other levels of government that they need to do better to achieve housing targets.

If we’re going to rank governments that have failed to achieve results on housing, David Eby and his NDP government are number one on that list.

After six years and two terms in government the NDP has managed to build only a fraction of the 114,000 affordable homes they promised. They have completely missed their targets on housing for seniors, women fleeing violence, and the middle class and housing affordability has never been worse.

I sincerely hope the NDP move beyond just pointing the finger at municipalities — especially in light of the challenges our cities are grappling with right now, from mental health and addictions, to crime and the health care crisis. The NDP must realize we are going to need all hands on deck, from every level of government, to build the housing British Columbians need.