Rogers renews call for use of former military housing
NDP Housing Critic Gerry Rogers (MHA, St. John’s Centre) wants to know whether a temporary housing solution for Muskrat Falls workers could become a permanent benefit for the people of Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Media reports indicate that workers employed on the Muskrat Falls project are being temporarily housed on the military base until the work camps Nalcor purchased from Manitoba Hydro International are completed.
“I asked on March 29 last year, in the House of Assembly, whether the provincial government would take leadership and ask the federal government to make vacant military housing units available to help alleviate the housing crisis in Happy Valley-Goose Bay,” said Rogers.
In answer to her question, the then-Minister of Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs said government had consulted with the Department of National Defense, and “we have let them know if there is housing available, we are interested in talking to them about that.”
In April DND announced it was closing more housing units at the Goose Bay base as part of national cost-saving measures. The units range from barracks-style accommodations to three-bedroom apartments.
Happy Valley-Goose Bay’s housing market is under particular stress as the community struggles to accommodate new temporary residents. In addition to those working on the megaproject, there are people working in education and healthcare, students, and seniors from rural areas.
“It has been almost a year now,” said Rogers. “I would like to know whether the provincial government has done any more negotiating with DND to see if some of these units could be used to alleviate the area’s housing crisis.
“The units were made available to NALCOR on a short-term basis. Why can’t they be available to some of the residents of Happy Valley-Goose Bay who are caught up in the housing crisis?”