NDP leader John Horgan tells local government officials he would be a better partner for them than the B.C. Liberals.

Horgan promises Crown land for housing

NDP leader raps B.C. Liberals for selling land to developers, promises to scrap local government auditor

A B.C. NDP government would provide provincial Crown land to communities to lower the cost of new housing, NDP leader John Horgan says.

Horgan used his address to the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention Thursday to highlight local government struggles with high urban housing prices, homelessness and treatment for mental illness.

He said the NDP would use Crown land to help communities with housing instead of selling it off to “wealthy developers” as the current government did recently with a tract of land on Burke Mountain in Port Coquitlam.

Horgan praised the work of Maple Ridge and Victoria to address growing homelessness, and the B.C. Liberal government’s support for shelters. The province announced $550,000 Thursday to help run a 40-bed shelter in Maple Ridge through the winter, after the closure of a Salvation Army-run facility was announced by the local council.

Victoria council wants to raise $50 million through a levy on Capital Regional District property taxes to build social housing for the city’s chronic homeless population, many of whom camp in city parks.

Horgan also promised mayors and councillors that as premier he would scrap the B.C. Liberals’ new Auditor General for Local Government and redirect the money to communities. Communities Minister Peter Fassbender told the convention Wednesday he has appointed a new auditor, former Metro Vancouver chief financial officer Gordon Ruth.

Responding to Horgan’s speech for the B.C. Liberal government, Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett acknowledged the new local government auditor got off to a poor start, with the firing of the original auditor after an overly ambitious start and poor relations with municipalities.

Bennett rejected Horgan’s claim that the B.C. government ignores recommendations from its own Auditor General, and said all elected officials should learn to accept independent scrutiny of their spending and management.

Bennett said Horgan mocks Premier Christy Clark for pushing to establish a liquefied natural gas export industry, and insists the government is focused on nothing else. The $9 billion Site C dam project got underway this summer, and Horgan still has no clear position on it due to factions within the NDP, Bennett said.

Just Posted

Bella Coola to benefit from massive investment in coastal internet

A combined investment of $45.4 million will bring new and updated high-speed internet on the coast

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

O’Reilly trial scheduled to start January 15 for Anahim Lake murders

O’Reilly is charged with first-degree murder

School District 49 to re-open Nusatsum Elementary in September 2018

SD49 says increasing enrollment is driving its decision to re-open the school

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read