Taking action on affordable housing

One message I heard loudly was the need to take action on affordable housing.

With the federal election now over I was reminded on the importance of campaigns, the messages sent by voters and the promises made by newly elected politicians and candidates.

This reminded me of the last provincial campaign and one message I heard loudly was the need to take action on affordable housing. For close to two years since I was elected as MLA, affordable housing is something I have worked on with local mayors and Minister Rich Coleman along with senior ministerial staff.

Affordable housing projects, I have discovered, involve many years of planning and require a strong working relationship between a variety of organizations. Fortunately, I am also proud to announce this hard work produces results.

It was an honour to announce in Penticton a few weeks ago that 70 new units of affordable rental housing will soon be built on city-owned land. These affordable rental units will be the first built in decades that will accommodate low- to moderate-income families and individuals and will complement other affordable housing projects created in the past five years that provided accommodations for seniors and those who are at risk.

This affordable family housing project will be built on Brunswick Street with a request for proposals being issued from BC Housing later this month. Also being added are eight new housing units for people with disabilities that will be operated by the Penticton and District Society for Community Living, at 180 Industrial Ave. W.

Another exciting announcement made in Peachland last month is that an RFP from the Peachland Seniors Support Society has been accepted by BC Housing to build 68 units for seniors at the 4400 block of Sixth Street that will be financed by the Province of British Columbia. This is a very exciting announcement for Peachland as this project has been identified as a critical need as far back as 2009 to create much-needed affordable housing in the community.

One more project I would like to mention is the now-completed walking and cycling trail between Summerland and Trout Creek.

It is very rewarding to see this unique project now available for citizens to use. On that note, I would also encourage citizens to make use of it.

If demand is strong it will help to make a stronger case to ensure this trail is extended into Penticton in future phases. My thanks to the many citizens who helped to make this project a reality.

On behalf of the citizens in my riding of Penticton, I would also like to congratulate our local members of Parliament Dan Albas and Richard Cannings, who were elected on Oct. 19. I look forward to continuing our work that serves the needs of citizens in our region.

A final reminder: As winter driving conditions are soon to appear throughout many parts of B.C., do not forget that the Drive BC website (drivebc.ca) has online road reports including live online web cameras.  Please slow down and drive safely this season.

My Penticton office is located at 210–300 Riverside Dr., in the Riverside Plaza.

For appointments in Peachland and Summerland please contact 250-487-4400 for further information.

Dan Ashton is the MLA for Penticton.