NDP’s Attorney General David Eby made a stop in Smithers this morning (Tuesday) to discuss housing affordability.
He is considered the leading contender in the NDP Leadership race since Premier John Horgan announced he was stepping down in June.
Eby recently issued his affordable housing plan if he becomes premier which includes immediate action on emergency housing, BC Builds middle class housing, a flipping tax and securing rental housing for the long term.
According to Eby, a part of his plans is partnering with municipalities with the BC Builds Initiative.
He said that he knows how critically important the issue of housing is across the province including in communities like Smithers.
“The provincial government needs to be more involved in housing in an non- precedented way, involved in supporting the development of affordable, attainable middle class housing for British Columbians,” Eby said.
He added that this will help take pressure off the low end of housing and it will allow families to have stability.
Additionally, Eby announced that if a rental building is for sale the province will work with non-profit organizations to purchase these rental buildings.
Smithers Mayor Gladys Atrill said that even though projects are being improved the community continues to be short on housing.
“I look forward to the partnerships, I’m intrigued about possibilities of partnerships using land and I think anything we can do another house, every house is a good house it does take pressure off,” she said.
According to Atrill, one of the concerns about housing is the lack of land in the community for housing to be built.
Stikine MLA Nathan Cullen added that areas like Smithers and Telkwa have become more attractive to people.
Eby also said the main issue with rental housing is that there is not enough.
“I’m incredibly concerned about rising interest rates, the pressure of rising costs on developers that a lot of developments may be on hold where we desperately need rental housing right now, so the provincial government is going to have to support the construction of additional rental housing right across the province,” he said.
Eby added that if BC does not support developers rent will continue to increase.
He will continue his Northwest tour this week, where he will be in Terrace this evening before travelling to Prince Rupert tomorrow (Wednesday).
The new BC NDP leader will be announced on December 3.