This is page numbers 4687 - 4726 of the Hansard for the 19th Assembly, 2nd 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 know.

Topics

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, in addition to my statement today, NWT housing crisis, we're facing a health crisis also. But it stems work -- like, living together in overcrowded units, it's really drawing a lot of -- a lot of hurt and hardship between families because there are just not enough homes.

Mr. Speaker, I reference since we started sitting in -- for this 19th Assembly, 15 times I've made Member's statements in this House in regards to the housing issues that we do have in the territory. Mr. Speaker, can the Minister plan to reduce overcrowded homes in Nunakput riding and when that -- when is -- we could work together for that? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Nunakput. Minister responsible for Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Member from Nunakput as well too. I understand where all the Members are coming from as well too. And with the portfolio, we're trying very hard to find strategies and be very strategic on our investment for the Northwest Territories, and also investing fairly and recognizing that all of our people throughout the Northwest Territories are facing a housing crisis.

For the Member's riding, as of to date, we are going to be investing $9.2 million for the 2023-2024 government. We have $8 million that is going to be completing eight public housing units and repairing nine housing units. We have $1.2 million for homeownership repair program for private homeowners and minor repairs for NWT units.

I would also like to include, Mr. Speaker, that Paulatuk will be receiving four units. Tuk will be receiving four as well. Ulukhaktok will be receiving two. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Or mahsi.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Minister for that. I'd like to -- you know, how can -- how many people are currently homeless under the housing in my riding in Nunakput, Mr. Speaker? What's the plan to increase housing options for these people? Are we able to take off through the CMHC, able to give these houses away like we planned? And we're waiting -- one couple in Sachs Harbour for two years now to get that program out. So how do we get them to get that house off the books from CMHC to provide a new house in Sachs Harbour to be able to provide for our younger generation that's having families but having to stay with their parents. This is unacceptable, Mr. Speaker. We need an answer for this and sooner than later. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And thank you to the Member for his question. With the housing portfolio, there's also the community housing plans, and I know it might seem kind of minor to the Member, but we need to come up with a strategy at the community level in order for us to be at -- for us to be working and trying to address the housing needs strategically at the ground level. These community housing plans are also lobbying documents for the federal government in trying to acquire further funding.

There was an announcement for the distinction-based funding. I don't have the number in front of me of how much the Member's riding as received. But I am interested in looking at those housing sales, Mr. Speaker.

I also would like to see transfers of those units, if they're single family dwelling, I would like to see those and further look at those files as well. I don't have information at the tip of my fingers right now. But I need to see the rate and condition of those units and the possibility of an options for transfer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I know that with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation receives $76 million last year for housing. Is this Minister working with the Inuvialuit to try to work together to combine funding to get houses into the communities? And then my last one -- or not my last one. But the people in Sachs Harbour, for say, they paid two years into a program that they were told that they had the unit. But there was -- the two years that they paid the rent without the House being signed over. Will the Minister commit to that couple once, that verbal commitment was made by the Inuvik housing authority, that money they paid for the last two years goes into the purchase of that unit? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Sorry, Mr. Speaker. I would like to take a look at those files as well that the Member is referencing with the two years with that agreement, and I would like to see what is the current update on them. So I'd like to encourage the Member to send that over to my office.

And also Housing does work very closely with the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation as well too. They just recently met September 22nd. I don't have those further details. But I can follow up with the Member and give him an update. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary, Member for Nunakput.

Jackie Jacobson

Jackie Jacobson Nunakput

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, that information's been sent over two years and it's been sent numerous times to the Minister's office. Not to her office, per se, to the Inuvik Housing Authority. We need some answers here. We got people on waiting two years now. And of all places, I mean, we don't have many houses in Sachs Harbour. We need more housing units in Sachs Harbour. We take this one off, we give it to them under -- they're paying for it. But at the end of the day, they're going to be able to take that house and get another house under CMHC because we're only allotted so many units in the community. So that's going to be a big help. But the Minister has to make sure that -- I'm asking her to get this done for the -- and there's two of them that I'm really pushing for and the information's already there. So she could get her staff in Inuvik to do that, because we're waiting for an answer. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I will follow up with the Inuvik office and with those specific files and get back to the Member. Mahsi, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Question 1198-19(2): Mackenzie Valley Highway Project
Oral Questions

October 19th, 2022

Page 4700

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my questions are for the Minister of Infrastructure. Can the Minister describe the status of the relationship with all Indigenous governments situated along the proposed Mackenzie Valley Highway route on this project? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes. Minister responsible for Infrastructure.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, the work we're currently focusing on, which is the 321-kilometre alignment to Wrigley to Norman Wells, have established an MOU for a collaboration on the projects with Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated. We also have a contribution agreement with SSI and the PKFN for work under this project. We also have a memorandum of understanding with the PKFN for their consideration on the project collaboration. We also have provided contribution funding to Norman Wells and Tulita Renewable Resource Councils for some traditional work. So, Mr. Speaker, we are working with the Indigenous groups. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. So nothing north of Norman Wells? Okay. Is the work to advance the road connecting Norman Wells and Wrigley on budget and on track? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the Member for her question, because I think that's really important to get this out there. So in 2018, the Department of Infrastructure obtained $140 million in federal support, under the National Trade Corridor Fund, to be able to support things like the environmental assessment, some of the planning studies for the portion of the Mackenzie Valley Highway from the communities of Wrigley to the Wells, which, again, is a distance of 321 kilometres, as well as the construction of the Great Bear River Bridge and the Mount Gadet Access Road.

We also have successfully obtained funds to be able to construct phase 1 of the Prohibition Creek Access Road, which is about $25.5 million for construction of that phase.

The next critical milestone, Mr. Speaker, in the process of submitting for our developers assessment report, which we anticipate to be submitting to the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board early 2023. So following the completion of this critical community engagement and Indigenous traditional knowledge work that is currently underway, we anticipate the EA to take approximately two years, followed by approximately one to one and a half years to obtain all of the regulatory permits for construction. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, residents and business in the Beaufort Delta are ready and willing to build a road south and undertake the work required to develop community plans to get communities ready in the Beaufort Delta. That's what they do; they build roads. So can the Minister identify the length of the road and the budget, even if it's a past budget that might have been an estimate budget, required to connect Inuvik to Fort Good Hope? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And Mr. Speaker, I respect that the Member was able to give me a head's up; however, that head's up was just not enough time to be able to go back and get a figure from the department. So I'd like to get back to the Member for this one because this is something of interest to me and perhaps you too, Mr. Speaker. I mean, we've talked about this in the past. So I think, you know, we can get back to the Member. Yes, I'm just not ready to ballpark a figure like this given some of the costs escalations in all our other projects. Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Final supplementary, Member for Inuvik Twin Lakes.

Lesa Semmler

Lesa Semmler Inuvik Twin Lakes

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I don't think it's just for us. I think it's for the whole of Northwest Territories. I think it's going to be a great thing if this happens, if this comes to life in my lifetime, because it's been since 1960 that it was first talked about, like I said.

Mr. Speaker, can the Minister commit to investigate the feasibility of building the Mackenzie Valley Highway from the Inuvik south to connect to Fort Good Hope and get that work started, as well while they're working on it, let's get some money rolling in, let's get this part of the highway done. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Diane Archie

Diane Archie Inuvik Boot Lake

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, and I think the Member's going to happy with my commitment on this, to be able to look at investing in the feasibility study. The long-term vision for Mackenzie Valley Highway has always been to connect communities from all the way up the valley, up from Wrigley all the way to Tuktoyaktuk, with the all-season road. You know, reducing our reliance on some of our existing network of winter roads, which are increasingly at risk to some negative impacts of climate change. So, Mr. Speaker, I see the Member's quite happy right now. So if she's happy, I'm happy. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Minister. Oral questions. Member for Monfwi.

Jane Weyallon Armstrong

Jane Weyallon Armstrong Monfwi

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I raise earlier this sitting that many elders are having difficult time with significant debts to the Housing Corporation for many, many years ago. In many cases, the elders are not aware of why the debt is owed. The Housing Corporation is in many cases garnishing their income which means the Housing Corporation takes a significant chunk of every modest paycheque they make. Mr. Speaker, will the Minister commit to direct her officials to immediately enter a stay of execution of existing garnishee orders registered against elders by the Housing Corporation so they can keep more of what little they already make until such time as her officials can develop a program to allow people to apply for forgiveness of their housing debts? Thank you.

The Speaker

The Speaker Frederick Blake Jr.

Thank you, Member for Monfwi. Minister responsible for Housing NWT.

Paulie Chinna

Paulie Chinna Sahtu

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. And I'm -- thank you to the Member for the question as well. And I'm assuming that these are debts that are for homeownership and that we had established these units -- these were access units and 15-year agreements that were established over 20 years ago. That was an agreement that we did have with CMHC at that time. I'd have to follow up with the Member. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.