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John Horgan says everyone needs to make sacrifices to solve B.C.’s housing issues

Premier feels outgoing BC Housing boss’s frustration with vocal opposition groups
Premier John Horgan answered questions about statements made by retiring BC Housing CEO Shayne Ramsey, during an unrelated announcement in Langford on Aug. 3. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)

Premier John Horgan defended the outgoing head of BC Housing on Wednesday during an unrelated announcement in Langford on Wednesday.

Asked for comments about Shayne Ramsey’s decision to retire from his post as chief executive officer of BC Housing, the premier said everyone needs to start making sacrifices to address the housing crisis.

In Ramsey’s announcement Aug. 2, he referenced the recent rash of violent incidents targeting homeless people on the mainland, as well as threats against himself. He said he no longer felt able to tackle the issues BC Housing faces in addressing the affordable housing crisis, pointing to an increase in the number of small, but vocal groups of people opposed to social housing projects.

“While one community faces the almost certain prospect of poverty, poor health, violence and premature death, others are now unwilling to provide a welcoming space, a space that could save lives,” Ramsey said.

READ MORE: BC Housing CEO to step away after recent attacks on unhoused people, threats to himself

After publicly thanking Ramsey for his 26 years in the post on Wednesday, Horgan voiced empathy for his situation.

“I do well understand his frustration with vocal minorities who are running afoul of or using, I should say, municipal meetings to stop developments … different communities address those in different ways,” the premier said.

“I’m not quibbling with the rights of citizens to have their say at public hearings. That’s why we have public hearings. But we also have to acknowledge that we have a societal challenge that’s going to require us all making sacrifices to meet the challenges going forward.”

Horgan said collaboration is important to achieving such goals as adding more complex care housing, and tackling issues such as climate change and healthcare shortages.

ALSO READ: $125 million collaborative post-secondary campus coming to Langford


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