EDMONTON, Alberta – Much of our media has been saturated with the Syrian crisis, refugee policy, and of course the recent attacks in Paris. While the main soapbox of our new NDP government has been focused on climate change and how dirty the oilsands are, a quiet press release over the weekend seemed to miss most main stream media outlets.
The Notley government has approved a plan to house several thousands refugees and their families in Alberta, but not in makeshift arena compounds or spare military barracks. The Notley government has approved a plan to house them in foreclosed or vacant luxury homes in Calgary and Edmonton.
“We thought about this long and hard, and when it was brought to our attention that there were several thousand homes vacant in the province due to the very poor economy and thousands of job losses, we thought we could make use of that space by housing the refugees in the empty homes. And wy not? Doesn’t everyone deserve a bit of the nice life once in awhile?” – Marka Jenoplopinksi, recently promoted Director of Alberta’s Dwelling Acquisition & Reassignment Committee
It seems the Notley government has seen fit to create a new team of specialists to collect, acquire, and redistribute the many homes left over after continual layoffs and bank foreclosures. The newly minted Dwelling Acquisition & Reassignment Committee will be in charge of handing out vacant homes to families as they enter Canada and are assigned provinces in which to begin their new lives.
Of notable mention is the fact that builders in possession of unsold homes are being served notice by both provincial and federal governments that the homes will be legally appropriated for such use. One specific example is the Watermark development in western Calgary, where many of the new luxury homes remain unsold due to affordability in the current market.
“I think it is a chance for our communities to be brightened by the diversity of residents once the dust has settled. We’ll have CEO’s and fund managers living next door to the hard working people fleeing a torn homeland in search of shelter. I really do believe this suburban blending will benefit everyone.” – Jakob Shnyder, ADAR Project Manager
While the chance at a new home of this calibre is a dream come true for most, there is no plan in place as of yet to deal with property taxes and utilities in the homes, which are expected to average 3000 to 5000 square feet, and occupy large lots of estate acreage in suburban and central neighbourhoods in Calgary and Edmonton.