FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 27, 2023
Statement from Peter Bevan-Baker, Leader of the Official Opposition Greens, on rental market report
What a terrible week for housing on Prince Edward Island. The day after the Charlottetown tent encampment was demolished – despite the Premier’s earlier claims there were “no immediate plans” to do so – the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is reporting PEI has one of the worst rental markets in the country.
Prince Edward Island reported an apartment vacancy rate of 0.8% in 2022, the worst vacancy rate yet in any year under the King government.
- For far too long this government has failed to take housing seriously.
- They failed to deliver a rent registry to ensure renters are not paying illegal rents at a time of extreme inflation.
- They wasted years debating with themselves what role government should have in our housing market instead of immediately investing to expand our public housing supply.
- They squandered opportunities to access existing programs and federal dollars, like the Rapid Housing Initiative, that would have made substantial and immediate improvements.
- They let the quality of public housing decline to levels that no cabinet minister would accept for themselves. This failure was brought to full light in the aftermath of Fiona.
- We have a shelter system that clients tell us is inadequate and needs to be improved.
- Instead of taking steps to rein in speculative housing activities that increase costs and displace Islanders, the government votes against and dismisses such measures.
- First-time homebuyers and Island families looking to find a new home that better meets their needs are forced to compete with speculators and investors who bid up prices on homes they never intend to live in.
There are things the King government can do if they could just muster the courage and wherewithal to actually put in the work.
For example, Islanders have seen little tangible action to improve the capacity of the construction industry to deliver the housing units needed to match our aggressive population growth.
Islanders also continue to wait for this government to introduce planning reform to make it easier to develop the housing we need in harmony with environmental and other important considerations.
It doesn’t matter if it’s housing, healthcare, or any other issue that matters to Islanders. The bottom line is this: The King Conservatives are failing to meet the challenges of the day and the expectations of the public. And the quality of life on PEI is declining because of it.
Islanders deserve a government that works for them.
Hon. Peter Bevan-Baker, MLA New Haven-Rocky Point
Leader of the Official Opposition
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