Parties pour promises on housing issue

The housing issue was showered with political attention on the Yukon campaign trail Wednesday.

The housing issue was showered with political attention on the Yukon campaign trail on Wednesday.

The Yukon Party promised to build a new Whitehorse youth shelter, and to expand the Salvation Army shelter or build a new one.

The party has already committed $20 million to housing for seniors and people with disabilities, said leader Darrell Pasloski.

It also plans to sell crown land to private developers "on special terms and conditions, with a caveat that the property will be used for the construction and maintenance of affordable rental units," he said.

It's already earmarked a four-hectare parcel of land in the city's Takhini area for such a project.

Pasloski wouldn't put a price tag on the housing projects, saying only his party would not raise taxes to pay for them.

The laws governing rental units was also up discussion.

The Yukon Party promised to amend the landlord and tenant act while the NDP said it would bring in what it's calling a residential tenancy act within a year if it forms the next government.

Porter Creek North NDP candidate Mike Tribes, who owns rental property in downtown Whitehorse, told a news conference that both tenants and "responsible" landlords would welcome a new act.

It would include a dispute resolution process as well as create basic health and safety standards for all rental properties.

Yukon Liberals also pushed the housing button on Wednesday with a promise to provide $6 million in subsidies to help people through the current crisis.

A Liberal government would double the existing annual homeowners' grant to $900. Renters would get a $600 tax rebate.

"I'm meeting people, even in Copper Ridge, who are struggling to meet mortgage payments," said leader Arthur Mitchell. "You know, more and more people are living pay cheque to pay cheque." 

The Liberals also promised to make more land available, at cost, for local developers.