Langley Advance Times is offering this weekly feature called “At Your Service.”
It’s another forum in which to put questions to our local politicians about key issues facing our community and its residents.
Using a basic question-and-answer format, elected officials will be asked one question at a time and given the opportunity to respond (to a maximum of 250 words) on that said issue.
Alternating between elected groups, Langley City and Langley Township councils, Langley School Board, Langley MLAs, and Langley MPs each have a chance to participate.
The answers provided will be published in their entirety online Sundays.
Langley MLAs were asked: Should the province take advantage of cooling home prices to create more co-ops/affordable rentals/social housing options in Langley?
Abbotsford South MLA Bruce Banman
A. Abbotsford, Langley, and other cities in our region are facing a critical housing crisis fuelled by B.C.’s growing population and inadequate housing supply.
For a long time, British Columbians have been calling on the provincial government to engage with stakeholders to develop housing of all types. However, broken promises and disruptive inefficiencies under the current NDP government show no real progress.
Under recent Housing Minister David Eby’s leadership of the NDP’s Building BC program, only a disappointing six per cent — that is 7,219 units — of the promised 114,000 homes have opened.
If that isn’t bad enough, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation reported that in order to deliver even some affordability, B.C. would have to open an additional 570,000 homes within the next eight years. Unable to meet their own goals, the NDP’s disappointing track record shows that these targets are simply unachievable.
The cost of buying or renting a home continues to skyrocket, at the same time that people in the Fraser Valley and beyond are coping with rising inflation and the cost of everything going up – from fuel to groceries and more. The NDP has promised measures to combat inflation as well as an annual $400 renters’ rebate, but neither has materialized.
Can the NDP government be trusted to build housing when they can’t keep their own promises?
B.C. deserves a proactive government that takes effective action, not one with flashy promises and no results.
Abbotsford West MLA Michael de Jong
A. As B.C.’s population continues to grow, and more people move to Langley and the Fraser Valley, building more of all different types of housing will be absolutely essential.
Our provincial government must partner with municipalities and the private sector to build housing that meets the needs of our community — unfortunately, we have yet to see any real progress on this from the current NDP government.
Despite all their promises, the NDP have consistently failed to make life more affordable for British Columbians, and ignored the importance of creating adequate housing supply in our province.
According to recent Housing Minister David Eby, the NDP’s flagship Building BC housing program has only opened 7,219 units of housing — just six per cent – of their 114,000 promised homes. Making matters worse, a recent report from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation estimated that B.C. will need to build 570,000 additional homes by 2030 to deliver any sort of affordability, far above the NDP’s goal.
A recently published Ernst & Young report also found numerous problems at the provincial Crown corporation BC Housing, leading to Eby quietly firing the board of directors on a Friday night, and the resignation of the CEO a few weeks later.
It’s clear that B.C. desperately needs more housing options, but until the NDP indicates a change in direction and the ability to work on realistic solutions, we will not see an end to the current housing crisis.
It’s time for serious action to increase supply and meet the housing needs of British Columbians.
Langley-East MLA Megan Dykeman
A. Our government is fully committed to bringing more affordable housing to Langley at all times, and something we have been actively addressing.
I was thrilled to see the announcement on the beginning of construction at Park Vista, which will be completed in Winter of 2023.
The government’s Housing Hub program provides low-cost financing for developers with low-interest rates who want to build rentals or homes for purchase for low- or middle-income people and families. The savings will go directly back into the pockets of renters or buyers.
Housing Hub is a great example of how the province can support developers creating affordable homes in taking advantage of a cooling market. It is a key part of our government’s commitment to create 114,000 homes in partnership over 10 years.
Through Housing Hub, the government provided $19.7 million towards the development of Park Vista, and I’m looking forward to seeing the project complete.
Langley MLA Andrew Mercier
A. Our provincial government has been working since 2017 to make the largest investment in housing in the history of British Columbia, and that includes significant investments here in Langley.
While the province does not have a role in administrating co-ops specifically, we have created a number of affordable housing projects in Langley. From supportive homes for seniors, youth, low- and middle-income families, and people in the community at risk of experiencing or experiencing homelessness, the B.C. NDP has shown it’s committed to addressing the housing crisis here in Langley.
Earlier this month, we announced that construction is underway on Park Vista, which will provide a mix of one- two- and three-bedroom units that are designed to be affordable for middle-income families. Construction is set to be completed in winter of 2023.
Next week, Langley’s MPs are being asked: What can Canada do to position itself as a leader in clean energy and battery technology through the next decade?
Watch for the politicians’ answers online Sundays.