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Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 1993

CORE talks hit snag

More cracks appeared in the NDP's Commission of Resources and the Environment this week as Interior forest industry representatives vowed to walk away from land-use negotiations unless the Harcourt government steps up efforts to create new jobs for displaced workers.

International Woodworkers Association vice-president Warren Ulley, a member of CORE's West Kootenay table, said workers can't be expected to "negotiate their jobs away" without some assurance that the government is willing to support displaced workers.

Formed in 1992 and headed by former B.C. ombudsman Stephen Owen, CORE is in charge of stakeholder negotiations aimed at setting aside 12 per cent of the province's land base for parks and protected areas.

Last week, forestry representatives walked away from CORE's Vancouver Island table following a year of fruitless discussions.

On Wednesday, at the annual B.C. Federation of Labour convention, the premier, Mike Harcourt, promised to sit down with union representatives and discuss options for helping forestry workers who may be displaced by government land-use decisions.

But rather than addressing direct financial compensation for workers, Mr. Harcourt talked in general terms about value-added manufacturing and curtailing the province's practice of exporting raw logs.

Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 1983

Rent hikes rile seniors

The office of B.C.'s Rentalsman has been flooded with complaints from tenants facing rent increases of up to 100 per cent in the wake of the Social Credit government's July decision to abolish rent controls, Rentalsman Jim Patterson said this week.

Many of the complaints came from tenants of buildings owned by Giovanni Zen and Luigi Aquilini, owners of more than two dozen apartment buildings in Greater Vancouver, Mr. Patterson said.

Thousands of B.C. tenants received notice of rent hikes in the 20- to 30-per-cent range following the elimination of rent controls. But some have been told their rents will more than double.

More than 100 angry tenants, many of them elderly, gathered in a West End church Wednesday to express their frustration with the sudden increases.

Vancouver Mayor Mike Harcourt predicted the increases, combined with a vacancy rate of less than 2 per cent, would trigger a housing crisis for low-income people.

However, Mr. Harcourt expressed his opposition to rent controls and instead called on the provincial government to encourage construction of affordable housing.

Mr. Harcourt also called for reforms to Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation programs that provide rent subsidies to people who don't need them.

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