By-Line: Emma Graney

Edmonton Journal

Published on: April 4, 2018 | Last Updated: April 4, 2018 1:30 PM MDT

A much-vaunted affordable housing investment by government has quietly had its timeline extended by two years.

The provincial government announced in June 2016 it was throwing $1.2 billion at affordable housing builds in Alberta over five years.

But Seniors and Housing Minister Lori Sigurdson told a legislative committee Wednesday in Edmonton that the timeline has been extended by two years.

When asked in an interview with Postmedia why the plan won’t meet deadline, Sigurdson cited “inevitable delays” due to the complexity of projects.

Alberta Party house leader Greg Clark told Postmedia he was shocked to hear about the delay.

In committee, he peppered the minister with a series of questions trying to figure out why the quiet extension of a deadline.

“For the minister to simply say, ‘Well, it’s complicated,’ is not good enough. The job of the government is to live up to their promises. They promised $1.2 billion over five years for affordable housing, and they’re not delivering,” Clark said in an interview.

Sigurdson said the $1.2 billion investment remains and the units will be built — it will just happen over a longer time period.

Plus, she said, the cash is more than has been invested in affordable housing for years in Alberta.

Governments sometimes delay things, she said, “this isn’t an extraordinary thing.”

Clark said the government has all the resources it needs to properly plan these things, so it makes Albertans “rightly cynical” when a timeline isn’t met.

“This is money that is borrowed, that we’re paying interest on, but Albertans are not receiving the benefit of,” Clark said.

“It’s simply poor management and Albertans should expect better.”

egraney@postmedia.com

twitter.com/EmmaLGraney


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