Skip to content

‘Kelowna another victim of premier’s housing flub’: MLA Renee Merrifield

Merrifield debates minister on affordable housing
Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield address B.C. Legislature on affordable housing. (Photo/B.C. Legislature video)

Kelowna-Mission MLA Renee Merrifield has charged the NDP to “stop the excuses and end the blame game” over affordable housing in B.C.

“Kelowna is another victim of this premiere’s housing flub, with one of the most unaffordable housing markets in the country,” Merrifield said during a debate in the Legislature on Feb. 23.

She related the story of an 81-year-old Kelowna resident forced to live in their car because they are unable to find affordable housing.

“Despite a lifetime of hard work, paying taxes, and doing the right thing this senior has been abandoned by a government that promised better results.”

Merrifield added that the senior has been on a housing waiting list for two years.

“You know what they have to show for it? Nothing, but homelessness and no hope. I wish this was an isolated case but nearly 10,000 seniors are on waiting lists for subsidized housing under this NDP government and that’s a 50 per cent increase in the last five years.”

READ MORE: More action needed on housing affordability in Kelowna: Staff report

Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon countered that coming out of the pandemic there has been global inflation and higher interest rates that have put pressure not only Kelowna but communities across North America.

READ MORE: Majority of affordable homes approved under federal program not yet constructed

“That’s why we’re making the historic investments we’re making.”

Kahlon noted that actions such as the speculation and vacancy tax, which was implemented in 2018, have helped put 20,000 units back on the housing market in B.C. He also pointed out that government is funding 1,300 housing units in Kelowna, 916 of which are completed, and approximately 400 under construction.

“So we’re making those investments, we’re building that housing that’s been needed for more than two decades.”

“Yes we are behind, two decades of under-investment we are behind, but all these investments are going to make a difference to support people and we’re going to continue to do that work.”

READ MORE: Eby following through on $500M promise to put more rentals in hands of B.C. non-profits


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our daily and subscribe to our daily newsletter.

Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Recently joined Kelowna Capital News and WestK News as a multimedia journalist in January 2022. With almost 30 years of experience in news reporting and radio broadcasting...
Read more