Terrace makes pitch for subsidized housing

Feds, province announce $300 million for housing across the province over five years

The announcement of $300 million from the federal and provincial government to go toward subsidized housing over the next five years drew mixed reactions from city councillors and housing staff at a committee of the whole meeting yesterday.

Nearly 20 members of the public were also in attendance to hear a discussion that was led by visiting officials from the provincial government and BC Housing who were on a trip around the north to meet with municipalities.

At the meeting, the new vice president of BC Housing Michael Flanigan said the B.C. government was going to match the federal government by providing $150 million for subsidized to be spread “in an equitable way across British Columbia.”

“We’re recharging out housing initiative to the tune of about $300 million over the next five years,” said Michael Flanigan.

He added that communities across the province have presented similar concerns as Terrace, however city housing committee chair Keith Goodwin made the case that Terrace is in a uniquely dire situation and called for partnerships between BC Housing and specific projects.

“There is a need to share risk,” said councillor Brian Downie.

Councillor Stacey Tyers, who as acting as deputy mayor in Dave Pernarowski’s absence, said the announcement of money came as a surprise because she, along with other members and proponents of nonprofit groups in the area, had previously been told there was no money whatsoever.

“This was the first time anyone here heard of this funding for actual housing. The ministry said previously there would no money in 2014,” said Tyers afterwards, adding that she was tentatively optimistic that subsidies for housing could be boosted to help people in need.

Goodwin, crunching the numbers, told the housing officials that $60 million a year over five years for the whole province might not address Terrace’s specific concerns and that he thinks a non profit housing society needs to be created in Terrace.

Flanigan elaborated by saying that one third would be directed towards supplements, one third toward maintaining the existing subsidized housing stock and one third toward development of new housing in communities.

“Our focus is on partnerships,” he said.