WEB EXTRA: Courtenay backing campaign to pressure federal minister about housing

Courtenay council is endorsing a Federation of Canadian Municipalities' campaign to fix Canada's housing crunch.

Courtenay council is endorsing a Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ campaign to fix Canada’s housing crunch.

The initiative asks councils to pass resolutions urging Employment Minister Jason Kenney to develop a long-term plan to deal with the high cost of housing.

According to the FCM, a quarter of Canadians pay more than they can afford for housing.

Furthermore, mortgage debt exceeds $1.1 trillion, which puts the national economy at risk. At the same time, $1.7 billion in annual federal affordable housing investments are set to expire, which puts 200,000 households at risk.

Coun. Ronna-Rae Leonard said the “flavour of this community is far-reaching,” noting a low stock of affordable rental housing and overflowing shelters, among other issues.

“It’s not just the big city that suffers from these things,” she said.

Mayor Larry Jangula can’t recall any significant federal funding to boost the local housing stock since the 1980s.

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A Vegas Extravaganza Night fundraiser to benefit YANA (You Are Not Alone) needs volunteers to fill various positions. The Jan. 11 event at the Comox Community Centre features an Italian five-course meal, music and entertainment, along with a social casino and poker tournament. The theme is Vintage Vegas to bring the feel of the 1920s-’30s era.

Event co-hosts Angela Zumbo and Daryl Robbins appealed to council for volunteer support. They need about 15 staffers to serve meals. There are also positions for blackjack and poker dealers, wheel of fortune attendants, bar ticket sales, security and runners.

Zumbo and Robbins hope to make it an annual event.

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Bruce Walkey of the Canadian Red Cross presented council with a certificate of appreciation for a permissive tax exemption for local operations.

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com