Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).

Kootenay West Candidates (L to R) Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green), Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent, Ed Varney (Independent).

Q&A with Kootenay West candidates: Affordable housing

Eighth in a series of Q&As with the candidates.

Black Press went to our readers to gather a list of questions they would like to ask the Kootenay West candidates in the upcoming provincial election.

The Kootenay West riding will have six names on the ballot: Glen Byle (Conservative), Katrine Conroy (NDP), Andrew Duncan (Green) Corbin Kelley (Liberal), Fletcher Quince (Independent) and Ed Varney (Independent).

We will posting one set of question and answers each day for the next week.

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Q: How do you or your party plan to address the local need for more affordable and supportive housing?

Glen Byle (Conservative) – First by reviewing the existing 95 per cent of land in British Columbia that is Crown land – in consultation with First Nations, municipalities, urban planners, and other stakeholders. Then allocating up to one per cent of existing Crown land to development that will promote more affordable housing for British Columbians. Then lastly by encouraging all financial institutions in British Columbia to finance the development of affordable housing that is released from Crown land.

Katrine Conroy (NDP) – This is one of the biggest problems and it’s been years in the making. We capped rent increases at inflation. We’re on track for 58,000 more housing units over five years (2017-2022) with 25,000 homes already complete or underway including housing in Nakusp, Rossland and Castlegar. We have housed thousands of people with 3,800 supportive housing units in 30 communities including Trail. Connecting people to mental health and addictions treatment and job skills training. Working with our local communities our government can continue to help people find homes.

Andrew Duncan (Green) – “Covering the Basics” involves creating a secure environment for people that ensures their health and essential needs are met without being stigmatized. This means addressing income, food security, and affordable housing. Phasing in a basic income program is a key priority. We have seen it work now through COVID-19 lets continue this practice and allow British Columbians to do better and live with basic equality.

Fletcher Quince (Independent) – Currently in Rossland, a provincially subsidized affordable housing project is anticipated to cost $385 per square foot to construct. Projects like this must be reviewed in line with the efficient delivery of the ministry’s mandate, and an exploration of alternative options and partnerships that may exist. Municipal decisions which continue to drive housing shortages in rural communities must be increasingly legislated. Additionally, the province’s engagement with communities in identifying alternatives to consolidated affordable housing projects and the siting of these developments needs to improve.

Ed Varney (Independent) – We need people in government who will work to see we earn enough to pay for it. Then it becomes affordable. People who refuse to share the wealth of this country with the help of government have effectively made us peasants in our own democratic world of great wealth that should be shared by all. Examples of suggested programs would be to research low cost land to build on and/or buildings in need of renovation; possibly re-purpose the portables removed from schools.

Liberal candidate Corbin Kelley did not submit answers to our questions.

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betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

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