Rogers questions NLHC’s sale of Southlands property
In 2013, NDP MHA Gerry Rogers (St. John’s Centre) called the $10 million budget cut to NL Housing “a shameful display of government’s complete lack of understanding of the housing crisis facing thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians .” The effects of these cuts can now be seen in NL Housing’s tender to sell off 223.8 acres in Southlands – an area larger than Bowring Park.
“Government is divesting itself of our resources without a concrete plan – there is still no overall housing strategy in the province,” Rogers said.
Rogers is concerned that the sale of these assets is a Band-Aid solution to deep-seated financial problems within the organization. “The money from this sale will likely go into general revenue, so what will we do next year?” Rogers asked. “It may be appropriate to sell certain resources, but without exploring all possibilities, it is shortsighted and foolhardy to move forward on this.”
Rogers likened this tender to a family selling off its home and assets to cover bills and, in the end, being left with nothing. While the House of Assembly was open, Rogers asked that the government freeze the sale of all NL Housing assets – including land, buildings and empty non-NL Housing buildings – until a housing plan is developed.
Rogers wants to see a plan that explores the possibility of these properties being used for housing, social businesses, or planned communities. “These are valuable resources,” said Rogers, “but it will take vision to make the most of them.”