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WHITEHORSE – Officials from the Department of Finance confirmed during a public hearing of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts the Liberal government has left millions of dollars on the table, exposing the unreliability of the Minister of Community Services claims that the Liberals were spending ‘record amounts’ on lot development.
Officials say the Department of Community Services had a budget of $118.8 million for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, but the Liberals only spent $86.1 million of that. The main shortfall was in lot development in both Whitehorse and the communities. Officials say a total of $15.7 million went unspent, including $8.5 million in Whistle Bend alone.
“We have repeatedly pointed out the Liberals’ delays in lot development and how it is contributing to the housing crisis,” said Housing and Lot Development Critic Yvonne Clarke. “The Minister has bragged he was making ‘record-breaking’ investments, but Finance officials have now confirmed millions of dollars have gone unspent. Yukoners and builders need these lots to build more homes to address our housing crisis.”
The Liberals had promised phase 6 and 7 of development in Whistle Bend to come online late in 2021 and throughout 2022, but they cancelled the Phase 7 contract in 2021. Phase 6B and Phase 7 went unfinished this summer, jeopardizing the Minister’s promise of 200 lots this year. In addition, those delays pushed back tendering of Phase 9 for this fall as previously promised.
Stats from the Yukon Bureau of Statistics released on December 5 show that the continued mismanagement of lot development is seriously restricting Yukoners’ and developers’ opportunities to build more housing. Compared to last year, the value of residential building permits issued in the Yukon from January to October dropped 27.2 per cent.
The Yukon Party Official Opposition has previously suggested the Government of Yukon identify parcels of land that can be developed by the private sector and provide financial support to municipalities to expedite required zoning and planning with the proper support.