As you may know, Councillor Tim Outhit and I have been working to assist Bedford residents severely impacted by the flooding. We have called on governments to come together to purchase homes severely impacted by the flooding on Union Street.
The provincial government’s stance on this has been evolving. Initially, when Housing Minister John Lohr (who is also responsible for the Emergency Measures Office) visited some residents, several of them reported to me that the government could not purchase their severely damaged homes because we’re in a housing crisis. Then we heard that there’s no program to purchase homes – but that didn’t stop the former government purchasing severely damaged homes following the flooding in Sydney in 2016. And finally, the latest line has been to suggest the government might think about purchasing homes if municipalities sent them a letter requesting it.
Last week, Councillor Outhit brought a motion to council to do just that. It passed with overwhelming (although not unanimous) support.
So, at Cabinet Outs last week (when I was filling for Official Opposition Leader Zach Churchill), I was interested to hear what the Premier had to say when questioned about it by Keith Doucette of The Canadian Press.
The Premier said there was no program to buy homes. Mr. Doucette pointed out it had been done before. The premier pointed out again there was no program. The premier also noted he was not aware of any request letter from HRM Council. Councillor Outhit has been made aware of this and will no doubt ensure the letter gets to the Premier’s Office swiftly.
I want to thank residents for inviting us into their homes at such a difficult time. I’ll keep you posted on these developments.