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Kevin Falcon addresses soaring housing costs in Chilliwack town hall

Bureaucracy and regulations making affordable housing more costly: BC United leader

BC United leader Kevin Falcon made a stop in Chilliwack Feb. 1, on a town-hall tour of the province leading up to this year’s provincial election.

There were no candidates announced at the event for the two Chilliwack ridings, but he brought along BC United MLAs Jackie Tegart (Fraser Nicola) and Ellis Ross (Skeena) for event, held at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.

After a brief introduction, the group moved onto a question period. A young man who said he is a nearing the end of his trades courses at UFV stated his concerns with the costs of living in B.C., and that many people his age are considering moving to Alberta to start careers and families there.

He said the common thing he’s hearing is “When are we getting out of here? When are we moving to Alberta?”

“Why should I say here and what makes it better than moving away?” he asked Falcon.

“Always hold politicians accountable for the results, not the announcements and the re-announcements,” Falcon said, before outlining his career in the housing industry prior to his political career.

He said NDP promised seven years ago to make housing more affordable, only to see costs skyrocket. It all boils down to an increase in regulations and bureaucracy, he suggested, and used an example of a high rise that took six years to get built in Vancouver due to delays in paperwork and permits.

“If you keep adding more regulations, more costs, more environmental regulations, and couple that with big delays, that also adds cost,” he said.

There is no quick fix, Falcon said, but listed solutions that the BC United caucus believes will push prices back down over time.

“Anyone telling you they can fix this overnight is not telling you the truth,” he said. “Speed, speed is really important. Get projects approved, and approved quickly. You have to get bureaucracy out of the way.”

He said the NDP have added “137,000 new employees” and when pressed, offered to hire 200 more.

“You hold people accountable,” he countered. “Get the permits out the door, there has to be the mindset that’s focused on outcomes and results.”

About 60 people attended the evening event, and question topics included amending the bill that requires healthcare workers to be vaccinated, solving the toxic drug crisis, and clamping down on crime.

READ MORE: Dan Coulter announces plan to run for re-election in Chilliwack

Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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