Sioux Lookout mayoral candidates address 'extreme housing crunch'

It's a community of just over five thousand people, and the town of Sioux Lookout in northwestern Ontario is one that's steadily growing. So much so that residents and newcomers in the community are having difficulty finding housing.

Jason Bailey, Doug Lawrence and Dennis Leney are vying for top office in Sioux Lookout

Three mayoral candidates in Sioux Lookout say the biggest challenge in community is the housing shortage. (Matt Prokopchuk / CBC)

It's a community of just over five thousand people, and the town of Sioux Lookout in northwestern Ontario is one that's steadily growing. So much so that residents and newcomers in the community are having difficulty finding housing.

The housing shortage is one issue that all three mayoral candidates in the town are talking about.

"Sioux Lookout has been degrading over the past 12, 16 years ... but right now we have a ton of jobs available here in Sioux Lookout and [we've] got nowhere for anybody to stay," Jason Bailey told CBC News.

Bailey, who works with First Nations Social Services, is one of the candidates vying for top office in the town. He said he's been meeting with local developers to "ask them what are the barriers to building homes" in Sioux Lookout.

There are three candidates for mayor in Sioux LookOut. Jason Bailey works with First Nations Social Services. 2:21

Current mayor Doug Lawrance also feels that the housing shortage in the area has gotten worse over the last decade.

"Since I came here ... in 1985, it took a long time for me to find a house and that has only exasperated," Lawrance explained, "and in the last year or two, we're under an extreme housing crunch. Thirty per cent of the jobs posted in northwestern Ontario are posted in Sioux Lookout."

"The biggest challenge is housing."

Lawrance says housing shortage is one of the biggest challenges facing the community. (Jeff Walters / CBC)

He says he's looking to get back into the mayor's seat for another term to build upon what he has done in the past four years.

Doug Lawrence hopes to be relected as mayor of Sioux LookOut 3:07

Dennis Leney, who previously served one term as mayor of Sioux Lookout before being unseated by Lawrance, is also running again. He said he also believes housing is a priority.

"We need more housing ... for the working class and we need more housing for our seniors," Leney said.

Mayoral candidate Leney said he spoke to a business owner who said some of their employees left the community as they were having difficulty finding housing. (Jeff Walters / CBC)

"We don't have housing and we have got so many businesses that require employees and people to work that they can't get them."

Dennis Leney is also seeking the mayors chair in Sioux LookOut. 40:25

He said in the next five years, he wants to see the community of Sioux Lookout get bigger and become the "hub of the north" for transportation and healthcare.

With files from Jeff Walters