Standing before an empty lot in downtown Whitehorse, NDP Leader Liz Hanson announced her party’s housing strategy.
The overgrown grass behind her represents “the single biggest failure of the Fentie/Pasloski government,” she said. The lot is owned by the Yukon government.
“Whitehorse Centre is sort of the centre of the housing crisis,” she said. “It’s emblematic of what’s going on in the whole territory.”
If Hanson were premier, there would be a mix of private and social housing built on this empty lot at the end of Lowe Street on Fifth Avenue, she said.
The NDP’s plan includes “immediate but prudent” action with the remaining $16 million of federal funding the Yukon Party had yet to spend.
And above all, an NDP government would re-establish the Yukon Housing Corporation, said Hanson.
This means addressing everything from interest rates and down payments, to social housing, accrediting home inspectors, retrofitting older homes and developing a Homeowners Protection Act.
Before becoming the NDP leader, Hanson was involved in land claim negotiations in the territory for many years and is aware of how much land the First Nations own within Whitehorse, she said, pointing out Kwanlin Dun’s land between McIntyre Village and the Canada Games Centre.
“That is prime real estate,” she said. “And it is ready to go.”
Hanson has already been in talks with Chief Rick O’Brien to discuss the lease agreement strategy and, as premier, would be willing to become a major lease holder for social housing, she said.
All of these plans have already been costed out, she added, and for her government, they would be a priority.
Plus, a NDP government would not ignore the immediate needs of the people right now, before Christmas, Hanson added.
“The people camping on the YTG lawn is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said, mentioning people living in pop-up trailers all across Whitehorse.
A $5-million emergency transition home will be built if the New Democrats are elected, she said.
“We cannot afford to have more deaths on the streets this winter.”
Contact Roxanne Stasyszyn at