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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Colin Springford doing what he loved best, tending to his garden. (Linda Matteson photo)
Longtime farmer Colin Springford dies at age 75

‘He will be deeply missed, always loved and never forgotten’

A Seed and Stone rendering for White Rock, B.C. (Seed and Stone rendering)
Songhees Nation to open two Victoria cannabis stores spring 2021

Seed and Stone stores will open on Gordon Street and in the Bay Centre

Saanich has awarded the tender for a youth bike skills park planned for the lot next to the George Tripp BC Hydro Substation off Lochside Drive to Bike Track Ltd. for $242,000. (Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich selects company to build youth bike skills track at Tripp Station Park

More than $240,000 allotted for Bike Track Ltd. to design bike park

An architectural rendering provides a look at PC Urban’s proposal for three buildings on the former Galaxy Motors property at 1764 Island Hwy. in Colwood. (Rendering courtesy of PC Urban)
Commercial/industrial development planned for former Galaxy Motors site

Colwood proposal goes to public hearing Jan. 25

Members of the Victoria Police Department, some of whom are shown here observing a moment of silence for victims of a mass shooting in Nova Scotia, experience stress and potential trauma more than most other workers, says Chief Const. Del Manak. While the number of shifts lost at VicPD are soaring, he sees it as a sign people are taking their own health and wellness seriously. (Black Press Media file photo)
Skyrocketing number of lost shifts at Victoria police has a positive side, chief says

Chief Const. Del Manak says officers, staff being more proactive looking after their mental health

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Flags line the National Mall towards the Capitol Building as events get underway for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Joe Biden arrives at U.S. Capitol for inauguration

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Updated: Ucluelet paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

New Westminster TV production designer, Rick Whitfield, has designed an office in a box for British Columbians in need of a private workspace. (BC Box Office photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. man designs ‘box office’ solution for those working from home

‘A professionally designed workspace on your property, away from the distractions of home’

Most Read