Edmonton mayor calls on parties to commit to affordable housing, transit

Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson wants all federal parties to commit to continuous funding for affordable housing and transit.

As chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, an advocacy coalition to see the needs of municipalities reflected in federal policies, Iveson said that the issues affecting municipal governments are clear: the need for affordable housing and expansion of current transit systems.

“We made historic gains as cities in the last federal election with the promise of a national housing strategy and the promise of a national long-term transit program, and now, having seen both those come into effect, we want to see all parties commit to continuing them,” Iveson said.

In 2018, Edmonton committed to building 2,500 units over the next four years as part of its affordable-housing plan. The city requires $509 million for this undertaking, and although it has committed $132 million, it expects the rest from higher levels of government. That’s why Iveson wants all parties to commit to continuing the federal Liberal government’s 10-year, $55-billion national housing strategy.

“It’s unconscionable that the federal government has been absent from housing for decades when needs have become so much more critical in our city for affordable housing,” Iveson told The Star. “And that makes it challenging [for] our economy in terms of labour-force participation. There are costs related to homelessness that cascade down onto provinces and municipalities that housing can help solve.”

Iveson said that the future government should also continue with the promised $1 billion in transit funding to Edmonton for the Valley Line West LRT and Metro Line Northwest LRT.

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