Friday, December 12, 2014

MLA Rice challenges Minister Rich Coleman's thoughts over rent controls

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice is taking the issue of rising housing costs on the North Coast to the Minister in charge, addressing her concerns to Rich Coleman over his recent comments related to adjusting levels when it comes to rent controls.

Over the weekend, Mr. Coleman who has Housing among his cabinet portfolios, observed for the Vancouver Province that he has concerns when it comes to cost levels that landlords can't recover under the current structure in place.

Currently the system in place allows for a two per cent increase per year, plus whatever rise in the Consumer Prince Index is at. That is a procedure that has been in place since 2004.

Ms. Rice was quick to respond to that prospect of change, offering up an overview for the Minister, as to how such a move would impact the affordable housing situation in the Northwest.

"Removing rent controls would hurt northwest families," said Rice. "We already have a shortage of affordable rental housing and housing for people with complex needs in the region, and that shortage will only get worse if rent controls are lifted." ...  Rental increase regulations are in place to protect renters from landlords raising rents unchecked and to provide predictability to households to manage their budgets. If these rent hike regulations are eliminated, rents will skyrocket and some people will be forced to leave our communities"

Housing issues have been high on the list of concern for both the MLA and Prince Rupert City Council in recent months, as speculation over the potential of an increase in industrial development has made for increased real estate values and with that, rising rents for many in the community who are struggling to find accommodation within their means.

MLA Rice made note of the province's anticipation of LNG development, a topic that Minister Coleman does double duty on as the Natural Gas Minister, with Ms. Rice noting that while the Liberal government is looking ahead towards that industry gaining a foothold in the province, the communities that it will be locating in need more help when it comes to the issue of housing.

"The B.C. Liberals need to do the groundwork so that we can have LNG communities, rather than LNG camps," said Rice. "That means investing in affordable housing and increasing training opportunities for local people right now."

The need for infrastructure assistance is one area that City Council has identified as a key issue between province and the City, included in that is the need for more affordable housing in the community.

In particular City Council has expressed its concerns over the growing need for social and Seniors housing in the community, issues that they believe the province is not addressing enough attention to on the North Coast.

You can review some of those items of note over the last year from our Housing archive page.

For more on the work of the North Coast MLA at the Legislature see our Archive page here.

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