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Housing key issue for Banff-Kananaskis in provincial election

Housing key issue for Banff-Kananaskis in provincial election.
The Banff & Lake Louise Hospitality Association hosted a provincial election forum at the Banff Park Lodge on Tuesday (May 16). From left: Incumbent UCP MLA Miranda Rosin, Green Party candidate Regan Boychuk, NDP candidate Sarah Elmeligi and Solidarity Movement of Alberta candidate Kyle Jubb. JUNGMIN HAM RMO PHOTO

Affordability and housing are often cited as the two most challenging issues in the Bow Valley for residents. The latest labour market review by the Job Resource Centre had the average cost of a one-bedroom unit in Banff at $1,749 and $2,123 in Canmore. What would you and your party do to help address affordability and housing in the Bow Valley?

Miranda Rosin – United Conservative Party

The lack of housing supply in the Bow Valley is one of the leading causes of the lack of housing affordability in the Bow Valley. With limited supply and high demand, rent and home prices continue to increase, the average peaking above $1.2 million in 2022.

The largest challenge the Bow Valley faces when considering new housing developments is limited access to developable land. We are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful and pristine regions on earth, but that comes with its challenges. Recognizing this, I worked with our Minister of Seniors, Housing, and Social Services to transfer 2.3 hectares of provincially owned and managed land, valued at $8.7 million, to the Town of Canmore for the purpose of affordable housing development. I have also begun working with other departments to assess additional developable land within the vicinity of the Canmore municipal border, that could potentially also be transferred for the same purpose.

Once the town brings forward a plan to the provincial government that satisfies the needs of our community and workforce, our United Conservative government will be ready to partner financially with capital dollars for the build. These dollars will likely allocated through our Affordable Housing Partnership Program (AHPP). Through this program, we partner with private builders and developers, and not-for-profit organizations, to bring affordable housing to communities in need. United Conservatives will not institute a rent cap in Alberta. We must maintain a free-market to ensure the vitality of our housing sector. While a rent cap may sound nice as an election talking point for some aspiring politicians, the results would be catastrophic, likely resulting in building foreclosures and the removal of thousands of rental properties from the market altogether, exacerbating our already-strained supply to demand ratio.

Regan Boychuk – Green Party of Alberta

Even before the crunch of inflation or the looming recession, a disconnect has developed between the cost of living and wages. Inflation has made that worse for everyone and the coming recession will only add to the pain. Public housing is an obvious and welcome good every candidate will be offering some.

But this isn’t an annoying issue to be brushed off with empty words because some gesture is required by the election. The cost of living is about to become an existential challenge for many Alberta families and much more than x number of public housing units will be required.

The Green Party is proposing more public housing, but that urgent need can be invigorated by going further and helping fund local public housing with a local vacancy tax. The Green Party is also the only one offering a rent cap of 1.5 per cent to limit the predatory increases in rent we’ve seen taking place recently. A public and secure registry for previous rental rates is another idea that can help thwart profiteering on the backs of already struggling Albertans.

Sarah Elmeligi – Alberta NDP

The cost of living and housing in the Bow Valley is the No. 1 issue I hear at the doors across our communities. The Alberta NDP recognizes that we are in a housing crisis in the Bow Valley and that the skyrocketing cost of living is preventing many people from moving here and staying here over the long term. We’re taking a wrap-around approach by putting a cap back on utility rates and car insurance premiums, making monthly bills more affordable.

We will also construct 8,500 affordable housing units across the province, with a focus in the Bow Valley. I am personally committed to working with the municipalities of Canmore and Banff to support their affordability strategies in any way that is appropriate.

Without addressing the affordability crisis in Alberta, and in Banff-Kananaskis, we won’t be able to address shortages of nurses, doctors, or hospitality workers and the impact that has on our communities and economy.

Kyle Jubb – Solidarity Movement of Alberta

The housing and affordability issues have been consistent for a very long time. The most simple solution to put an end to our current government overreach is starting with the municipal government.

Why are there so many regulations put in place for what we are allowed to do with our own property? This is simply a supply and demand issue which was created by our municipal government. What is the term “a legal suite”?

No matter where your home is located, we should be allowed to build a suite. Any building being built in the Bow Valley, including commercial buildings, should be encouraged to have living accommodations incorporated into it. This would help us with affordability in the Bow Valley by increasing the supply. We would all succeed if Alberta was run properly and got rid of corruption and theft. The average Albertan spends a minimum of 60 per cent of their hard earned money to the government and gets nothing in return – this must stop.

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