Housing and childcare initiatives could affect Douglas students
By Katie Czenczek, Staff Writer
Issues faced by students may be in focus in the latest provincial budget.
The NDP provincial government released its budget plan on February 20. The budget includes plans to improve housing and child care accessibility and affordability within the upcoming year, and further down the line. Starting in September, those making less than $45,000 per year may be eligible to receive free child care to allow families with young children to return to work and continue their education. The plan also highlights how the NDP government hopes to create more child care spaces throughout the province.
Judy Darcy, New Westminster’s MLA, said in an interview with the New West Record that she is “proud” of the budget.
“This budget really does put people first, and this budget really is going to make a difference in the lives of a lot of people in New Westminster,” she said.
Michelle Bergen, an early childhood educator, said she is pleased with some of the initiatives in the budget.
“So far, I am excited that a plan for children, families, and educators is rolling out,” she said in an interview with the Other Press. “I understand that it will take many years to unravel the plan entirely.”
Bergen said she thinks the budget will be a boon to students who wish to work in early childhood education.
“I think it will help draw new students into the field as wages will increase,” she said. “It is now the time to be an educator and make a living wage.”
The proposed budget also plans to deal with the housing crisis. There will be tax increases for foreign and domestic real estate speculators who are not currently paying taxes in BC, and a five per cent increase on the foreign buyers tax. The budget plan proposes to invest more than $6 billion over a 10-year time span in affordable housing, which includes student housing.
Ava Tate, a Douglas College student, said in an interview with the Other Press that the current housing situation in Metro Vancouver is a problem.
“It’s obviously overpriced,” she said. “I think that young people are going to have to either lower their standards of living or move out of the city.”
Tate also went on to say that she’s unsure if the proposed budget plan will be enough to stop the housing crisis.
“I know that the Toronto market has cooled down, but I don’t know if it will be the same [for Vancouver.] Even with the new plan,” she said.
Ethan Charleton, a Douglas College student, said he approves of the housing crisis measures in the budget.
“I think the plan is definitely useful for students wanting to move out,” he said. “Vancouver, it’s a good city, but it’s not Manhattan. Renting shouldn’t be as expensive as the bigger cities, we don’t have the jobs for it.”