BC Liberals Say John Horgan’s Hotels For Homeless Scheme Endangers Businesses And Kills Jobs

VICTORIA– BC Liberals are calling for help for small businesses impacted by John Horgan and the NDP’s decisions to overpay for buildings to house the homeless and coerce various building tenants who were never consulted with in the first place.

“It’s important that we provide supportive or transitional housing with full wraparound supports for society’s most vulnerable but what we’ve seen happen with the purchases of hotels by B.C. Housing here in Victoria is nothing more than a failure at every level,” said MLA Todd Stone, BC Liberal Municipal Affairs and Housing Critic. “In the middle of a pandemic, when people are already struggling, John Horgan has put small businesses at risk of bankruptcy while killing local jobs.”

In one such case, B.C. Housing purchased Paul’s Motor Inn, a 75-room motel in Victoria, to temporarily house people without homes during the pandemic. Local Victoria restaurant Paul’s Diner by Fol Epi was leasing space in the hotel and spent $150,000 on renovations to the restaurant only last year. With the business no longer viable, owner Clif Leir has been told he will not be reimbursed for his costs. This major financial hit will likely endanger the financial viability of Fol Epi’s other Victoria locations, which puts more than 50 jobs at risk of being lost.

“This entire debacle has been handled poorly at every possible point. It’s unfair that these small businesses and their employees are being made to financially suffer as a result of this government’s decisions,” added MLA Joan Isaacs. “It now up to John Horgan and the NDP to admit they botched this and compensate these businesses for their losses.”

In another case, B.C. Housing purchased the Comfort Inn Hotel also in Victoria and — without consulting with tenants — issued eviction notices to the small businesses within, like All About Hue Hair Design. Most of the salon’s clients cancelled their appointments after learning about the hotel purchase in the media. Days after BC Housing began moving people into the hotel there was a fire in one of the rooms, which caused water damage to the salon triggered further cancellations. As of today, All About Hue has suffered lost wages and water damage from activities by the hotel’s new residents while B.C. Housing refuses to provide compensation.

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