Liberal MLA calls for more money for home renovations programs

·3 min read
Liberal MLA Robert Henderson said he knows people in his district who had to stop construction because of the rising price of building materials.  (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Liberal MLA Robert Henderson said he knows people in his district who had to stop construction because of the rising price of building materials. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A Liberal MLA is calling on the government to put more money into provincial home renovation programs because of the rising cost of building supplies.

O'Leary-Inverness MLA Robert Henderson raised the issue in question period Thursday.

"The rising cost of materials has led to construction budgets increasing exponentially, and in some cases, we have seen the results of delayed or even cancelled projects," Henderson said.

"I know of people in my riding that had to stop construction. They just can't continue on."

Henderson raised the issue of the rising cost of building supplies in question period Thursday.
Henderson raised the issue of the rising cost of building supplies in question period Thursday. (P.E.I. Legislative Assembly)

Henderson said he knows that government has committed to increase funding for its home renovation programs, but he said it's not enough.

"While that's a start, we have begun hearing from Islanders stating that these program increases will not offset the large increases of construction materials," Henderson said.

"I've had one constituent come to me and said the increase is barely … more than a few sheets of plywood and a bag of screws. We know lumber costs in Atlantic Canada are much more expensive than they were before the pandemic."

Quotes out of date

Henderson said he is also hearing from constituents who say their quotes are out of date before they get a reply on their funding applications.

"Constituents are telling me they go get quotes, they submit the applications, by the time the application comes back the quotes are outdated and no good," Henderson told the house.

"They have to then go back out, get new quotes again, and go through the whole process once again."

Henderson said he is also hearing from constituents who say their quotes are out of date before they get a reply on their funding applications.
Henderson said he is also hearing from constituents who say their quotes are out of date before they get a reply on their funding applications.(Laura Meader/CBC)

Housing Minister Brad Trivers said he's very aware of the problem because it's happening to his department as well.

"It's a problem that government faces as well, when we put out tenders and then the costs go up," Trivers said.

"You start a project and you have a budget, and then at the end of the project, that budget is different."

More funding possible

Trivers said the government is increasing the funding to the Seniors Safe at Home Program, the Seniors Home Repair Program and the P.E.I. Home Renovation Program, by an additional $2.7 million over the next three years.

Housing Minister Brad Trivers said he's very aware of the issue because it's affecting his department as well.
Housing Minister Brad Trivers said he's very aware of the issue because it's affecting his department as well.(Brian Higgins/CBC)

He said if that isn't enough, there could be more.

"We're here to help Islanders. We're here to make sure that these programs offer them what they need to make the program work," Trivers said.

"If we need to give them more funding because building materials have gone up, yes, we'll do just that."

Trivers said he has also been discussing the issue with members of the Home Builders Association.
Trivers said he has also been discussing the issue with members of the Home Builders Association.(Legislative Assembly of P.E.I.)

Trivers said he would also look into the concerns raised about the time it was taking for applications to be reviewed.

"I think we need to look at those programs even on a more deeper level, not just about the quotes," Trivers said.

"I want to review those programs to make sure they're as efficient as possible, they're as easy as possible, especially for seniors to apply to."

Trivers said he has been discussing the issue with members of the Home Builders Association, who are also expressing concerns about the high cost of building supplies.

"It's something that we have to work across departments to address this, with the minister of economic growth and the minister of finance and the minister of planning and wherever else," Trivers said.

"We're aware of the problem. We're looking at it. We're meeting with the people most impacted. We're identifying their exact concerns and formulating a plan."

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