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

Hundreds gathered for a candlelight vigil Friday evening (May 7) to remember 29-year-old corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, who was killed in last weekend’s brazen daylight shooting outside North Delta’s Scottsdale Centre mall. (James Smith photo)
Hundreds gather to remember victim of North Delta shooting

Corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, was killed in what police say was a targeted incident

Students across school district watched videos and did activities geared towards mental health. (Special to The News)
National day of mental health marked by Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows school district

Child and Youth Mental Health Day started by FamilySmart in 2007

Annette Code passed away in 2017. (Special to The News)
A special room at Pitt Meadows Museum dedicated to Code

Annette Code was a long-time museum volunteer, school board trustee

Flags flown at half mast out front of Fraser Regional Correctional Centre for slain corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa. (Neil Corbett/ The News)
Public vigil and flying flags at half mast done to honour slain prison guard

Maple Ridge corrections officer Bikramdeep Randhawa, 29, is being remembered in a number of ways

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Jennifer Coffman, owner of Truffle Pigs in Field, B.C., poses beside her business sign on Thursday, May 6, 2021, in this handout photo. Her restaurant and lodge have been hit hard by a closure of a section of the Trans-Canada Highway and by the British Columbia government discouraging Alberta residents from visiting during the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Jennifer Coffman, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘Why we survive’: B.C. boundary towns struggle without Albertans during pandemic

Jennifer Coffman’s restaurant is located in the tiny community of Field, which relies on tourism

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Mandeep Grewal was gunned down outside an Abbotsford bank in October 2018. Police said a violent gang war to control drug-line territory was going on at that time. Drug charges have now been announced against seven people. (FILE PHOTO: John Morrow/Abbotsford News)
7 people face 38 charges related to gang drug activity in Abbotsford and Mission

Police say investigation began in 2018 into expansion of Brothers Keepers’ drug line

Most Read