MARYSTOWN, N.L.— Low income housing for seniors, heating bills and health care were all issues brought forward by seniors in attendance during a town hall host by Bonavista-Burin-Trinity MP Churence Rogers at the Lions Club in Marystown on Tuesday, July 17.
One of the questions asked of Rogers in regards to low income housing for seniors by a Marystown man was, what happens with low income housing after the 10-year period in which landlords have to offer tenets reduced rates.
Rogers replied that once the agreement between the Canada Mortage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and the developer expires they are free to manage the property as they see fit.
"At this point the affordable housing projects that are done by CHMC, there’s a 10-year contract that they sign with people who agree to build these projects, and they subsidize the actual (cost) of building of the project," Rogers explained.
“For the first 10-years the rates are set by the CHMC, beyond that the owner of the property…(then) they can make their own decisions about what kind of rates they can charge.”
Rogers added that he hopes property owners would choose not to increase rates, or instead they would only increase the rates slightly.
“Unfortunately the rules are what they are,” he said. “We can’t force the owner of a piece of property to set rates beyond that 10-year obligation. We can’t set rates for life, that’s not the way it works.”
Rogers said that during his time on the peninsula he heard some common concerns from the meetings held in both Grand Bank and Marystown.
“I am hearing common concerns from seniors around the cost associated with future heating bills as a result of the Muskrat Falls project. People keep thinking that bills are going to climb excessively and pose real problems for seniors," he noted.
It’s an issue we’ll try an address with the premier, Nalcor and others. I know the premier has already spoken out about rate mitigation, so I’ll certainly be having a conversation with him to see if there’s something else we can do to shelter seniors from that sort of exacerbate increase that some people talked about.”