Government mismanagement is standing in the way of Islanders who are trying to build solutions for P.E.I.’s housing crisis, says PC MLA Brad Trivers.
A slow approval process for building permits was attacked by multiple members of the PC party throughout Tuesday’s question period.
Trivers said the party has heard from builders frustrated with costly delays, which have been months in some cases.
“These delays hurt our economy and are an obstacle to Islanders who are taking real action to help solve this housing crisis,” said Trivers. “Islanders are trying to fix the problems…that have been created by this government’s mismanagement. And, ironically, government is standing in their way by not issuing building permits.”
In a moment of agreement, Communities, Land and Environment Minister Richard Brown acknowledged the province was working on issues with the permit process, which he said should take two to four weeks for approval.
He also said a shortage in department staff was contributing to the problem and efforts to recruit planning officers throughout the summer were unsuccessful.
However, Brown also described the problem as a result of economic success in P.E.I. and Canada.
“Planners are in big demand across this country. The economy is booming everywhere,” said Brown. “We are maybe one of the most successful government in P.E.I. history when it comes to creating jobs, creating development and growing the economy. Do we have to catch up to it? Yes, we do, and we will.”
Souris-Elmira MLA Colin LaVie also pushed Brown on permits and said he found government not being able to find planning officers, “very difficult to believe when there are so many people across P.E.I. looking for work.”
Brown said the department planned to meet with developers over the winter and suggested meeting with MLAs to explain the permit process.
Brown also made it clear the province wouldn’t speed up the process by lowering standards.
“We have a set of standards we have to abide by,” said Brown. “I’ve seen too many times where developments are rushed and they cause more problems than they solve.”