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Newsletter from MLA/Minister Katrine Conroy, housing tops list

Katrine Conroy
By Katrine Conroy
September 23rd, 2023

For many people in our community and across B.C., affordable and available housing is top of mind. It’s one of our government’s top priorities too.

This week, our government announced two actions from our Homes for People plan that will help get more British Columbians into affordable homes, faster.

We launched the Single Housing Application Service (SHAS) on the new Permit Connect BC website to streamline the process of applying for abuilding permit for new housing. Instead of applying to several different ministries, homebuilders will apply only once.  In addition to saving application time, the new SHAS  can connect homebuilders to a dedicated staff member known as a ‘navigator’ who will help guide them through all stages of application. By connecting homebuilders with these experts, we’re expediting the permitting process and providing a personal, one-stop-shop that will speed up the process and deliver more homes for British Columbians.

We know that many people would love to build and rent out a secondary suite on their property, but they may face challenges. That’s why we also launched Home Suite Home, a guide that will help homeowners decide if building and renting a secondary suite is right for them. In the new year, we’ll be launching a three-year pilot program that will help with financial assistance for homeowners who want to construct  a secondary suite. The loans will be forgivable up to 50% for homeowners who rent out their secondary suites below market rates. Applications will open in April 2024.

We know there is more work to do, and these are just a few actions in our  government’s Homes for People plan. We’ll continue working diligently towards safe and affordable homes for all British Columbians.

In this week’s news about the Columbia River Treaty we would like to invite Basin residents to check out this editorial: “Arrow Lakes impacts top of mind in Columbia River Treaty negotiations” Sept. 18, 2023, by Kathy Eichenberger (Executive director, Columbia River Treaty, and B.C. lead, Canadian Negotiation Delegation). Please also remember to check out and bookmark our Arrow Lake & CRT Info Page, which will be updated regularly throughout the CRT process and is a valuable learning resource for anyone who wishes to learn more about the Treaty and its impacts on our region.

COINS 10th Anniversary September 22nd, 2023
Today we gathered to celebrate the significant contributions Circle of Indigenous Nations Society have made providing cultural support, counseling services, nutritional outreach and so much more to the people in the West Kootenay and Boundary region. It has been an honour to see COINS flourish over the last decade. I am grateful for all the time and commitment that each of the staff member and volunteer brings.
Your focus on supporting Indigenous people to lead healthy, self-determining, proud, and vibrant lives is evident. I know that our whole community looks forward to gatherings you host, at the COINS building and across our beautiful region. Thank you all for bringing art, music, knowledge, skills and spirituality into our lives and the lives of our children for future generations.

MLA Paddon speaks out against Kevin Falcon for siding with anti-SOGI protestors 
Instead of denouncing the protests and supporting 2SLGBTQAI+ youth, Kevin Falcon claimed the protestors have legitimate concerns. Later in the day, Falcon said he supports SOGI but did not denounce the hateful marches that seek to roll back the widely-supported policies that his party implemented. Falcon and his party have a history of tolerating homophobic and transphobic voices.
Increased supports to empower lifelong reading for children in British Columbia 
Increased supports for literacy programs in B.C. will help more children access services to develop skills that extend beyond the classroom. The B.C. government is donating $500,000 to the Raise-a-Reader campaign, which supports literacy by increasing awareness and raising money to fund community-based programs. Since 2017, the Province has donated $3.5 million to the campaign.

Literacy supports boosted for British Columbians
New funding to expand community-based literacy programs will help people of all ages learn new skills, communicate with confidence and engage fully in society. The Province partners with Decoda Literacy Solutions, a non-profit organization, to support community-based literacy programs and initiatives by providing resources and training in more than 400 communities. One-time boost of $1 million to support the expansion of community programs.

Province provides support to strengthen local fire departments

Communities throughout British Columbia will see improved emergency response from their local fire departments as the Province provides support to strengthen community firefighting capacities. The Province is providing access to enhanced training opportunities,more equipment, and also funding for education campaigns aimed at teaching people how to prevent fires and stay safe. Almost $5 million is being divided between the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, the Fire Chiefs’ Association of British Columbia and the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit.

British Columbia increases food security and agricultural resiliency during emergencies

The Province is supporting B.C.’s farmers, communities and First Nations with a new fund to help with increased planning and preparation for agricultural emergencies in order to strengthen food security. The new Food Security Emergency Planning and Preparedness Fund has almost $20 million to support the purchase, upgrading and installation of equipment and infrastructure. The fund will also help with emergency response training, emergency planning, and developing the tools and procedures necessary to respond to and manage agricultural emergencies.

New vision connects rural British Columbians to a stronger future

The B.C. government has released StrongerBC: Good Lives in Strong Communities, a new vision that outlines investments to help build a brighter future for rural communities and the people who call them home. The vision focuses on concrete actions including delivering high-speed internet to every community, helping goods and people move, and bringing more rural expertise and perspectives to government. An initial investment of $20 million to enhance medical-travel supports provided by the Canadian Cancer Society and Hope Air those who need to travel for cancer care.

We’re conducting 𝗱𝗲𝗲𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗮𝗴𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 to a renewed consultation process which will consider all perspectives on how 𝒃𝒆𝒔𝒕 𝒕𝒐 𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕 𝒄𝒉𝒊𝒍𝒅𝒓𝒆𝒏 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒚𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒉 𝒘𝒊𝒕𝒉 𝒔𝒖𝒑𝒑𝒐𝒓𝒕 𝒏𝒆𝒆𝒅𝒔 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒎𝒆𝒆𝒕 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒔𝒕𝒂𝒏𝒅𝒂𝒓𝒅𝒔 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒏𝒆𝒘 𝑫𝒆𝒄𝒍𝒂𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝑨𝒄𝒕.
We want to hear from you, families, people with lived experience, First Nations, and service providers about how we can create effective new services that work for all families based on their child or youth’s unique needs.
The ideas brought forward will be shared so we can all learn from them and benefit from this engagement.
Please submit your feedback here: Home – Children and Youth with Support Needs (gov.bc.ca)

My community office is open Monday to Thursday 10-3pm. Please call or email in advance to let Angelika or Sarah know when you are planning to come in so they can be ready in advance to assist you. If you have any questions or concerns about any provincial issue, or need assistance with a provincial body, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help. My office can be reached at 250-304-2783 or Katrine.Conroy.MLA@leg.bc.ca.

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Categories: Op/EdPolitics

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