Montague wants laws to curb substandard housing

Steve Sharratt
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Mayor Richard Collins

MONTAGUE — The deplorable condition of some rental housing units across the province has prompted eastern P.E.I.’s largest town to call for legislation aimed at eliminating the problem.

“It was a real eye-opener to see the condition of some of these places,” said Mayor Richard Collins. “No one should have to live like that.”

Collins attended the Affordable Housing Summit recently held at the Holman Grand Hotel in Charlottetown and extended congratulations to Mayor Clifford Lee for initiating the day-long session.

“I agree with Mayor Lee who said we pay more attention to tourist accommodations,’’ he told town council here. “We have stringent rules for any place rented out to a tourist, but yet have no requirements when it comes to domestic rentals in this province.”

During the summit, photographs were displayed showing homes in the capital city that were in “horrible” condition. Some apartments had ceilings falling down due to water leaks, wiring hanging from ceilings and blankets covering smashed windows to keep out the cold. One apartment had water coming in from a hose and rodents were unwanted house guests.

Lee wants homes inspected more regularly, but Montague town council insists provincial legislation should be implemented and a provincial inspector put in place.

Provincial housing co-ordinator Bill Fleming told The Guardian the problem is complex since in some cases there are few lodging alternatives. It’s estimated there are hundreds of homes in Charlottetown in unacceptable condition while the waiting list for affordable family housing in the city tops out at 300.

“I make a motion that we press the government for the implementation of a rental inspector,’’ said Coun. Jim Bagnall, a former MLA. “This type of thing should really fall under legislation somehow.”

Councillors were shocked at the details revealed from the housing summit and were uncertain if such inadequate housing existed in Montague. The summit was told poor condition housing exists in Charlottetown and Summerside more often because of the migration trend towards larger centres.

Organizations: Affordable Housing Summit, Holman Grand Hotel, Montague town council

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Eastern P.E.I., Summerside

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