All eyes turn to Ottawa this week, where federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to deliver a budget which many are hoping includes money for British Columbia.
Executive director for the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association Kishone Roy is optimistic that funding is coming for affordable housing.
“$12-billion over 10-years.”
Roy says it would represent a huge step forward by the federal government after what he says was two decades of doing nothing.
He says the problems in B.C. are worse than in other parts of Canada and is hoping the West Coast gets its fair share.
“What I’m hoping to see is either some increased funding for British Columbia in particular or some measures where they can go and target people in deep, deep need because we have a crisis in B.C.”
Roy says dozens of homeless camps and 25 per cent of renters spending half their income on housing show how big the problem has become.
Funding for transit mega projects will also be top of mind for B.C., where mayors in the Lower Mainland are optimistic that the federal government will build off its commitment last year to fund half the capital costs.
“This could be one of the biggest investments in public transit across the country,” says New Westminster mayor Jonathan Cote.
He says last year’s $370-million from Ottawa was the down payment, and the Mayor’s Council has their hands out for more.
“If we’re going to be able to move forward with the major projects like the Broadway subway line or the light rail in Surrey, it is going to require a more substantial investment and we do have high hopes that this budget will help us be able to deliver that.”
Cote wouldn’t specify how much he’s expecting for transit infrastructure but did say they’re seeking money in the billions of dollars.
“The federal budget is the first domino to fall on this and it’ll definitely lead to further action.”
He is optimistic work can begin on both mega projects simultaneously.