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People just need to get up and whine every day: housing minister on criticism

Last Updated May 25, 2016 at 5:05 pm PST

Rich Coleman (Photo by Dustin Godfrey for NEWS 1130)

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – Claiming there are some people who will never be happy on housing, the minister responsible is defending the province’s record on that file.

Stating there’s a lot of provincial work that goes unseen, such as 20,000 seniors receiving cheques to subsidize housing, Minister Rich Coleman says the work that is done by the province isn’t always recognized.

“I’ve never seen them happy,” Coleman says of some housing advocates. “Even when I bought the first 10 units in the Downtown Eastside, which everybody thought was a great thing to save the housing stock. The first thing I heard was from some of the other people like the Carnegie group in saying, ‘well that’s not enough and you shouldn’t have done that, and they’re just going to redevelop them.’

“It’s always — there are groups in and around this file that will never be happy, and that’s just the way life is.”

Coleman is brushing aside suggestions housing could be a major election issue.

“I don’t worry about that noise that comes with it because that’s just noise,” says Coleman. “I’m more interested in the guy that might be homeless on the streets on some city right now, where I can bring him inside and change his life. And that’s what we’re doing, one person at a time.”

This was Coleman’s response when asked about criticism from various Vancouver city councillors suggesting the province isn’t doing enough on the file.

“I guess some people just have to get up and whine every day, I don’t know,” says Coleman. “You just have to look at it — the glass is half full, not half empty, right? We’re getting there. Over 2,000 units have been built in the city in the last five [to] seven years.”

This comes on a day where a new report looking at BC Assessment data highlights just how difficult it is for people to save to buy a property in this region.