This is page numbers 549 - 580 of the Hansard for the 12th Assembly, 6th Session. The original version can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly's website or by contacting the Legislative Assembly Library. The word of the day was housing.

Topics

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 575

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Morin. I'm sure a lot of people will hear your warning. Mr. Ningark.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 575

John Ningark Natilikmiot

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wasn't going to speak on this further during general comments, but I just want to respond to the Minister by saying thank you. I know I stated

earlier when I made my initial comments on this issue that the Minister is trying very hard to address some of the concerns we have from the communities. I know he is trying and I just wanted to say thank you.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 576

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Ningark. Anyone else? Are there any general comments or statements? Mr. Antoine.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 576

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would just like to say that I have been very frustrated over the years with regard to the numerous small problems that exist in the communities with housing. Some houses are not completed electrically and mechanically in a lot of cases. There are problems with some of the designs of new alternate units. The Minister knows what I am talking about. I hope those types of inefficiencies can be corrected, and I'm sure they will be. That is one of the concerns of the smaller communities.

There are quite a number of outstanding problems that exist in the communities. Whenever I travel to the communities, I am always confronted with the same problems that never get resolved by the Housing Corporation in my region. I just want to say that the regional office manager has made it a point to identify all the outstanding problems that exist in the small communities. They are keeping track of them and if anything comes up in any of the communities, they make note of it. This only started this summer after meeting with the regional office.

Prior to that, there were a lot of promises made by the Housing Corporation staff to the people in these communities, and these promises were never carried through. I've been running into that for the last three years. Finally, this summer, I was able to sit down with the manager and state my case. As a result of that, there is ongoing tracking of all these different problems, and hopefully these problems will get resolved in time.

I just want to let the Minister and his staff know that these outstanding issues that are out there in my constituency and need to be taken care of. The staff of the Housing Corporation made promises to the people in the communities, in this case there were a lot Dene people in the communities, and among Dene people your word is very important. If you give you word, you have to back up that word with some action. In a lot of cases, perhaps there are too many problems to deal with and the person who had been working in that area may have forgotten that some promises were made.

What I'm trying to do is try to identify all these different areas and all these different promises that were made, and make sure that the Housing Corporation lives up to its commitments and the promises that were made to the people in the community. Hopefully, all these outstanding issues will get resolved as soon as possible.

In many cases, I am told, there is funding to take care of some of these problems; yet, there is no work being done on it. But now I am told that they will get on with it and hopefully resolve these problems.

So that's the only problem I have with housing. I still have some problem with the way the access and the needs...There are still a lot of needs out there. The Minister knows that I've taken pictures of people who are still living in tents in my area. Even in the cold of winter they are still living in tents. Gradually we're taking care of these people who are still living in tents all year-round, including winter. This year I have been told that there are a couple of people who are still living in tents who will be getting adequate houses like everybody else. So, hopefully, all these different problems will get resolved.

In the other communities they may have a lot of houses, they may have a lot of people there who they look at and have needs. But when you go to Liard, there are still people who are living in tents. I don't know if you have to work with numbers to determine how many houses each community gets, but there are some real needs out there that need to be taken care of. I'm sure that the department and the Minister knows what I'm talking about, and that these people who really do need the houses eventually will be allocated some units. That's all I have for general comments, Mr. Chairman. Mahsi.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 576

The Chair Brian Lewis

Any response, Mr. Morin?

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 576

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I too have concerns about project officers going into communities and going into homes and promising things. This even happens in my riding and probably all ridings. Sometimes you may go into an elder's unit and take down information, on paper and elders think that once they've given that information, they're going to get something. That may not be the case. The communication has got to be very clear. In that district, the South Slave district, in general -- out of all our districts -- it is in the worst shape for delivery. That district has fallen behind. They're still delivering programs this year from last year. We have put new management in place; we've taken the old management out and put new management in place. We have reinforced the support into the subdistrict office in your communities, Mr. Antoine. Also, we've put in a monitoring system.

A lot of those problems are irritants. Irritants to the client don't cost very much money to fix. They are usually warranty problems, problems with the way the HAP packages were delivered, or whatever. They are small-ticket items that don't cost a lot of money to fix and should be fixed. We will move to fix those.

I agree that we have to try to get all people that are living in tents out of tents. We have to make sure that projects get delivered in time and get followed up on as well. We are working to do those things. Thank you.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 576

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Morin. Mr. Antoine.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 576

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. While the Minister was talking, a couple of other concerns were raised as a result of what we've been talking about here. One of the concerns I've raised earlier in this session is with regard to insurance for homes that are being built in the communities. Especially in the communities where it is difficult to get fire insurance for the individuals because of lack of or very limited fire protection; mainly in the smaller communities where all they have, basically, is a large fire extinguisher on the back of the trucks. It's a chemical extinguisher; once you use it, it's gone. If the fire is big enough, such as was the case this past June in Jean Marie River, where a house that was being renovated caught on fire in the middle of the day...Everybody knew it was

burning but after the fire retardant ran out, everybody more or less just stood around and watched it burn to the ground because there is no other type of equipment there to put the fire out.

I think the department, if it hasn't done this yet, should look at how they can assist the communities and perhaps work with an insurance company to see if they could help some of the communities acquire fire insurance for their houses because you're looking at a big investment. This government is investing over $100,000 a unit now with the access program. Especially now that there's an access program where individuals in these small communities have to buy the unit after it is built by the housing corporation. It's maybe a 20-year mortgage that they have on these houses. If the Minister could respond to that.

Perhaps the Housing Corporation already has fire insurance on these houses because once you mortgage a unit, it belongs to the Housing Corporation until it is purchased; 20 years or 15 years or whatever time it takes it purchase these units. A lot of people in the small communities acquire furniture and appliances, and so forth. All these things cost a great deal of money. The families invest a large amount of money into having a good home just like everybody else. If there is no fire protection, once a fire starts and everything goes, then you have to start all over again with no help from insurance coverage. If the Minister could respond to this problem that we are having in the smaller communities with regard to fire insurance, I would appreciate it. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 577

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Mr. Morin.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 577

Don Morin Tu Nedhe

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. A letter is waiting for my signature in my office to you on this issue, since you raised it. We worked with Mr. Pollard and Jim Nelson, our vice-president of construction. Mr. Nelson had to go to Calgary to find the right brokers for insurance. It's not only a problem to find somebody but the way the brokers are writing, they weren't covering off the cost of a unit. It was lower. Let's say if a unit was worth $100,000 or $150,000, they would only write the insurance policy for about $100,000 if it was worth $150,000. We had a problem with that. I believe they did find some people that would write insurance up in the communities. I just have to sign the letter off. I haven't even seen it yet. The corporation tells me that.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 577

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Morin. I would appreciate it if you responded to the statements through the chair. Mr. Antoine.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 577

Jim Antoine Nahendeh

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to thank the Minister on behalf of everybody that has no fire insurance, for the work that they're doing. It will certainly help them out in the long run if this gets into place. It raises a number of questions and perhaps I could pursue whatever information the Minister has. It would be good if we could acquire it here in the House so that individual Members would know what is going on. There are concerns out there of people who are very aware of this situation and would like to get more information. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 577

The Chair Brian Lewis

Thank you, Mr. Antoine. Mr. Minister, do you have a response to that last statement made by Mr. Antoine? No? Does any other Member have any other general comments, statements, or questions that they want to raise at this stage? Mr. Gargan.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 577

Samuel Gargan Deh Cho

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I still can't figure out how the allocations are done. I've been trying to mix some numbers up here just to determine whether or not the allocation is actually based on need. You've also got a situation, Mr. Chairman, where they do have what they call market communities. Those are larger communities that have housing markets that are available. Mr. Chairman, this year's allocation... the Minister refers to the core need. Look at Fort Liard and Lutsel K'e. Their core needs are both 33 but Fort Liard gets three and Lutsel K'e gets one. I don't know how they base that core need.

The other thing is that last year the Baffin region got 53 and the South Slave got 61. Baffin region has 937 in core need. In the South Slave, there's 559, for just about the same amount of people surveyed: between 2,600 and 2,700. It's pretty close in numbers but for some reason, last year, based on that need, the South Slave still got more, even though the need was more in the Baffin. At least this year, it has changed around a bit. I just can't figure out how you come up with these needs. The same year the survey was done in 1992, Fort Wrigley got 26 units, Hay River got 20 and Providence was next with 15. But, those were all mixed at that time.

I'm saying, Mr. Chairman, that now that we're really in a time where money is scarce, we should try to find the best possible way to address the needs of people, and I don't see that. I can't figure out how they came up with the numbers they did. I find it quite disturbing that Lutsel K'e and Fort Liard, for example, have the same needs but one community gets more than the other.

If you look at the territorial-wide survey between the Baffin and the South Slave, which have the same number of communities, the Baffin requires more than the South Slave, but for some reason, last year after the survey was done, their allocation went down, which meant that the South Slave went up. I appreciate that the South Slave got more, but that still doesn't answer the whole question of need. The Minister keeps referring to basing it on need, but I don't see how the numbers match. It doesn't jibe for some reason.

Committee Motion 40-12(6): To Adopt Recommendation 10, Carried
Item 19: Consideration In Committee Of The Whole Of Bills And Other Matters

Page 577

The Chair Brian Lewis

Okay, Mr. Gargan, there is lots of detail in that comment. Maybe you could try, once again, to explain needs assessment, Mr. Morin.