North

MLA Julie Green grills N.W.T. housing minister on building homes for RCMP

Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green grilled the N.W.T.’s housing minister Monday about why the government wants to build 45 new homes for RCMP members.

N.W.T. Housing Corporation wants to build 45 units for members whose homes are being phased out by feds

Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green grilled the N.W.T.’s housing minister Monday about why the government wants to build 45 new homes for RCMP members. (CBC)
Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green grilled the N.W.T.'s housing minister Monday about why the government wants to build 45 new homes for RCMP members.

The officers currently live in federal housing in Hay River, Inuvik, Norman Wells, Fort Smith and Fort Simpson that Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) intends to sell or give away.

"Why is the N.W.T. Housing Corporation taking on this role when a federal spokesman is quoted as saying it doesn't provide value for money?" asked Green.

A Public Works spokesman, Tom Corrigan, previously told CBC via email, "The provision of housing... no longer provides value for money."

Caroline Cochrane, the minister in charge of the N.W.T. Housing Corporation, said "at this point the federal government is saying [the homes are] beyond repair for them to make it financially viable."

Caroline Cochrane, the minister in charge of the N.W.T. Housing Corporation, said 'at this point the federal government is saying [the homes are] beyond repair for them to make it financially viable.' (CBC)

Last week, when asked the same question by CBC, Corrigan said it was getting out of RCMP housing "due to changes in client departmental program delivery, the development of local housing markets, and N.W.T. devolution." He said nothing about the state of those homes.

Cochrane added that the territorial government doesn't want housing to become a barrier to keeping those workers in the territory, echoing comments made to CBC last week by Revi Lau-a, the manager of the housing corporation.

But Cochrane also suggested the rent paid to the housing corporation by RCMP members will help pay for operating and maintenance costs of other public housing units.

"It will be a revenue source. With declining CMHC [Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation] funding, we're looking at the revenue that would come from that to be able to transfer into the operating and maintenance for public housing."

Green said the Standing Committee on Social Programs, on which she sits as deputy chair, has requested a briefing on the matter.

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