Langleys left out of affordable housing announcement

Province announced funding for 2,900 new affordable rental units, none in City or Township

City mayor Ted Schaffer

A provincial government announcement of 68 new low-cost rental housing projects came as a disappointment to Langley City mayor Ted Schaffer, who said the existing stock of subsidized housing in the City is showing its age and could use some funding for renewal.

“It would be nice to have some of those buildings revamped,” Schaffer said.

“Some of that housing stock is getting on.”

The Tuesday announcement by premier Christy Clark promised 2,900 new affordable rental units will be built over the next two years, half in the Lower Mainland including locations in Richmond and Surrey.

No projects were announced for Langley City or the Township.

The money for the new units comes from a $516 million housing fund that was announced in September to provide more housing for low-income, seniors, special needs individuals, aboriginals, woman and children.

“It gives us the ability to make significant investments, put British Columbians first, and take immediate action to increase the rental supply in communities throughout B.C.,” Clark said.

The projects are projected to produce 5,500 new jobs, Clark added.

Housing minister Rich Coleman, the MLA for Fort Langley-Aldergrove, said non-profit organizations and municipalities could be seeing the money for the projects by the end of the fiscal year, with 12 to 24 months of construction to follow.

He noted some of the buildings will include wrap-around resources in the buildings, such as addiction resources, mental-health workers and social workers.

According to BC Housing, Langley City has 783 social housing units representing 6.9 per cent of the total housing inventory, the third-highest proportion of social housing units in any Metro Vancouver municipality after Vancouver and Burnaby.

The City also has an estimated 4,000 rental housing units, representing 35 per cent of the total housing stock, the fourth highest proportion of rental housing in Metro.

Schaffer said he would have liked to see some provincial money directed at repairing the decades-old stock of social housing, or using the current density standards to replace them with bigger buildings that can accommodate more people.

A request for comment from Langley Township mayor Jack Froese was declined.

– with files from Black Press