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City chooses operator for social housing buildings at Olympic village

November 4th, 2010 · 22 Comments

Well, even if the 480 market condos are sitting empty, at least some people will be moving in.

After some uproar when the province said none of the three non-profits who applied was suitable to run the social housing, the city took over.

It has chosen, as outlined in this report, the Co-operative Housing Federation of B.C. That experienced group will manage the one building it actually bid on, Building 2, the mostly market-rental building, for 60 years.

As well, one of its offshoots will manage the two buildings that are mostly the subsidized units for two years, which will allow everyone to figure out if the maintenance costs on these units is as unpredictable or as high as some people feared. Renters will be moved in ASAP, giving the place a little more life.

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  • jesse

    So Parcel 2 will become a cooperative? Assuming it is, the conclusion — that CHF has operated successful incorporated cooperatives — doesn’t technically match with the statement on page 4 “The rental rates generally reflect the size, design and location of the units…”

    Cooperative members pay maintenance fees to the cooperative, who administers financial obligations in total. Calling it “rent” isn’t quite correct, though the maintenance fees are generally kept in line with surrounding market rents. If the building is poorly managed, the maintenance fees increase or the corporation needs to be bailed out or declared insolvent.

    Does this also mean those contacted to occupy Parcel 2 would be asked to pay into a cooperative? Generally there is an upfront share buy-in of some thousands of dollars. I wonder how many applicants would not want to be part of a cooperative — it means some additional volunteer time and participation in the various committees that often accompany cooperatives.

    It didn’t make sense to me CHF’s bid was thrown out so quickly by BC Housing. I’m glad (though now a bit skeptical hehe!) the City has reconsidered it.

  • Morley

    When did they announce this meeting?

  • larry

    Morley, they didn’t announce the meeting or the report. You might have figured out by now that the city manager’s agenda is to spring these controversial reports at the last minute thus saving council embarrassing public or press attention.

  • MB

    Co-op housing was, in my opinion, the best choice for an operating model. While not perfect, it at least gives the residents a lot of control over decisions pertaining to their homes.

    In my experience with three co-ops, maintenance costs are usually included in the housing charges, and two of the three opted to hire private management companies to do the books and manage major repairs, stuff that should be done by detached professionals anyway.

    Now, if they can just develop methods to control the often significant nepotism and unfair distribution of income subsidies that afflict almost every co-op.

  • Morley

    So after reading the report it says they’ve decided on a 25%-75% non-market to market ratio? No supportive housing? I thought it was supposed to be 50/50.

    Is this why the meeting happened last night at midnight?

  • Frances Bula

    @Morley. An extremely late addition to the afternoon Planning & Environment committee agenda, which was posted sometime late afternoon.

  • jesse

    @Morley: “significant nepotism”

    Subsidy applications based on income have some loopholes but, generally, some if not most of the housing aimed at low income families will stick to its intended audience. If the cooperative is big enough nepotism is usually overcome by incessant in-fighting 😉

  • Jason King

    Does anyone know exactly why the city has pushed so hard for social housing at Millennium? I realize that it was part of the original promise, but given the mess that the entire development has become, would it not have made more sense for the city to sell off all the properties, and then purchase cheaper property in False Creek only a couple blocks away?

    Wouldn’t that have saved money AND accomplished the same goal?

  • Bill McCreery

    Francis, I am disappointed you did not see fit to mention the fact that the meeting went past midnight, ending @ 12:55 in a total shambles with members of VAN-ACT occupying the centre of the Council Chamber to protest how these proceedings were being rammed through as well as the outrageous attempts by Vision Councillors to justify them. In the interests of providing your readers with a description of this sad saga here are Mike Klassen’s 67 tweets describing the sequence of events [please read from the bottom]:

    Wow. It’s not quite 1am. Gee, everyone gets a few more minutes of sleep. Meeting, and these tweets, are adjourned. about 8 hours ago via HootSuite
    Vote happens. Anton opposed. Passes. Boom done. VAN-ACT leaves the room. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Jang quotes Larry Campbell “every life is precious”. Wonder what ol’ Larry thinks of his Vision buddies these days? about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Jang goes into the Blame the NPA message box. Anton will be a pile of smouldering ashes. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Woodsworth says let’s vote for this as we don’t want to hear from those who don’t like it. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Woodsworth attacks Michael Geller saying he doesn’t like poor people mixing with the rich. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Woodsworth goes on the attack against Anton. She won’t be the last. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Anton: “It’s a disgrace that you’re ramming this through like this” about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Vision’s decision to ram thru this report “goes against everything you campaigned on” says Anton. Why are we spending SO MUCH $$? about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    VAN-ACT speakers are encamped in the middle of the council chamber. Anton says lack of notice and transparency is ‘shocking’ about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Cameras and mics are now shut off. Will the viewing public now also be shut out of this council decision? about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Louie’s pontifications about trying to save people living on the street were just too much. That man turns the political rhetoric up to 11. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    It’s clear from the proceedings that Coun. Louie’s remarks set VAN-ACT into the stratosphere. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Deal calls a 5-minute recess. Turns off mics in the council. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Security has been called. And Deal is ramming through a vote despite Anton’s objections to no debate. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Anton is asking if the Chair to allow debate about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    VAN-ACT have moved into the middle of council chamber to stage a reading about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    VAN-ACT ARE TAKING OVER THE MEETING about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Louie: “Do we delay until February? I say not” “There are people dying on our streets!” “This is the best we can do for now” about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Louie is once again suggesting that tonight’s decision will help homelessness. He’s already been mocked by speakers on this. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Now Geoff is blaming Rich Coleman for council’s problems. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Geoff Meggs goes into the Blame the NPA message box. Says they’ve tried to bring “transparency” to the Oly Village. Hmm, okay Geoff. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Ballem admits that now without BC Housing the City will be “on the hook” for all the social housing risk. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    What the heck is Ballem saying? She’s talking in circles. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Louie to Ballem: “Why do we need to proceed today?” Ballem tap dances as Vision getting nervous about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Reimer hinting she might vote against this motion. Possible they’re getting cold feet after getting slammed by former supporters? about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    “I can see why you’re passing this after midnight, most people would see thru this” says speaker. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    How is market housing going to turn into social housing?? speaker asks. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    “You guys are shooting yourselves in the foot” next speaker says to council and staff. There is no democratic process after midnight. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    This is NOT “urgent” says speaker. “Do it right” he says. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Robertson says he’s used to all-nighters, so it’s okay. He continues to blame other levels of government. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Robertson is pedaling fast but not getting anywhere. OMG he is blaming the Province and the Feds for the housing problem. Un-Buh-Leivable about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Robertson asks strange question. Have you spoken to Province or Feds? Whaa? Speaker says I’m here because you’re here. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Speaker says it’s midnight and “you’re cutting us out of this decision”. It’s “rhetoric” from council. “It’s been empty for months”. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    3/4 of this housing is straight up market says Anton. Only 21 units of social hsing. “Not sure why you’re being brow beaten by councillors” about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Louie says hey, what’s wrong with us moving quickly? Trust me, he says. I know what I’m talking about… Speaker not buying it. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    Penny Ballem comes to the rescue of council. The “50-50” market/core need will stand. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    These young VAN-ACT folks are doing a good job considering no time for prep and it’s midnight. about 9 hours ago via HootSuite
    “Let’s get core people in there, that’s what you guys campaigned on” says speaker. Reimer says sorry, that decision has already been made.
    “I agree with Coun. Anton on the process issue, I’m not an NPA member” says speaker in defense against Vision attacks about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Andrea Reimer now trying to play good cop to Meggs’ bad cop. She goes into NPA blame game. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Geoff Meggs jumps in to dress down the young person who just spoke. “Didn’t you know we already gave $31 million to this project?” about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Why is council meeting “way past when I usually go to sleep”? asks speaker. “This sounds fishy” he says. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Vision being shamed by speakers for burning the midnight oil again and again and again. What’s so URGENT about market rental? speaker asks about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Speaker slams council for laughing at Anton’s suggestion. Midnight decisions “not the way politics is supposed to happen” about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Robertson is clearly nervous that the first 2 social housing guys think he’s full of crap. Spkr says that co-ops do not equal market rental about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Gregor once again blames BC Housing. Says after a year it can’t wait 2 more weeks. Revisits why the housing is not for deep core need. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Next speaker also wonders “why is this an urgent decision?” This is being rushed “not for people” but for Vision’s plan. OMG it’s 11:45 about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Speaker says that Vision is not trying to house homeless, but fill units with “market renters”. Says it’s “immoral” to rush this through about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Young speaker says that Vision has “completely failed” on their promise for social housing, and this is “widely held” view about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Six speakers registered to talk about OV decision starting at 11:30. Most from housing activist sector. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Coun. Jang says he might be getting confused because it’s 11:30 at night. Really? #latedistribution about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Ballem confirms City’s commitment to put cops and teachers in Oly Village before others. She confirms that “homeless” not going here. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Anton’s motion to defer vote until next meeting defeated by all others on council #latedistribution about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Robertson now trying to justify his council’s decision to ram through without consultation. Blames BC Housing for delays #latedistribution about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Woodsworth also repeating the myth that there are “people on the street” who will be housed in Oly Village. #latedistribution about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Louie says “there may be issues” on the notice of the report. Keeps saying “people on street” will go into OV housing, which is hokum. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    @mikekushnir Rubbish, Mike. VV keeps holding meetings in the wee hours so the public cannot participate. Accountability is “meaty” enough. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to mikekushnir
    “It’s a matter of significant financial significance for the city” says Robertson. Overrides Anton’s objections to late night meeting. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Anton rejects vote to override council rules. SLAMS Robertson that he would run on openness and hold a meeting after late dist. report. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    URGENT! URGENT! URGENT! We must get those 21 units of social housing filled ASAP!! about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Louie arguing that they will “get people off the street” by voting 2nite. Really? about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Clr Louie says that we must “serve the people” which is why they want to ram thru meeting after 11pm. Anton is rejecting it. about 10 hours ago via HootSuite
    Council pushing ahead to hear the few speakers who managed to sign up after late dist. OV report released. Another 12pm decision. Shocking. about 11 hours ago via HootSuite
    @mikekushnir It’s not the nature of the game to put the public thru this. There are precedents VV are breaking. Read about 11 hours ago via HootSuite in reply to mikekushnir
    Another late night with Vision Vancouver. Meeting scheduled to end at 11pm, but could go later. No respect for staff or the public. about 11 hours ago via HootSuite
    Vision sneaks in Olympic Village housing option as late distribution report: We’re late! Another late distributi… about 16 hours ago via twitterfeed

  • Frances Bula

    @Bill. Thanks for posting this. Re why I didn’t. First off, I posted on my blog long before the meeting started, so, being as that my crystal ball is in the shop for cleaning, I did not know it would be going until 1. Also, can I just, in a non-snarky way, point out that I am only one person. I worked my usual 13-hour day yesterday, had two stories in the Globe today, one about the city refusing to sign off on lower prices for the Olympic village market units and the other about the caucus revolt against Gordon Campbell, and then conked out.

    But others were at the late-night social-housing meeting and so we know what happened, albeit from a particular point of view. The public is also able to see this through the video feed from council, I presume.

  • Westender1

    We’re all busy Frances, and there are limits on how much can be accomplished in any one day. Point taken.
    But many of us tax-paying citizens are frustrated with the types of things taking place at 12th and Cambie, and that the mainstream media appear to be doing little to raise awareness of them. Last night’s consideration of yet another “urgent” late report and the hysterics during the meeting are an embarrassment to Vancouver. Yet in this morning’s media outlets, coverage is limited to conclusions that “Council selected a housing operator for the affordable housing units at the Olympic Village.” Well that’s not really the full story. And without the full story being shared, we have little likelihood that anything is going to change in the way business is conducted at City Hall.
    You tend to bear the brunt of the some of the complaints from “city hall observers” because through your blog you are more accessible than many – this may be both a challenge and an opportunity.
    Here’s to non-snarky dialogue, and thanks for keeping an eye on the issues.
    (By the way – the video feed was shut off at one point – presumably to “protect” the public from the shambles in the Council Chamber, and to avoid any additional open mic moments.)

  • George

    Everyone should take the time to watch the video feed of this event!!
    I sat horrified watching last night as it was happening. Vision and their contempt for Democracy. This is a must see before you vote next time….

    You must watch the contempt on their faces and hear the tone of what they said, this council has for us the tax payers, to really believe it !!!

    This had nothing to do with the homelessness, it had everything to do with dirty politics. We were not well served last night.

    I’m still enraged by what I witnessed last night.

    Shame on Vision, they thought we weren’t watching because of politics at the provincial level, but be assured Mr. Mayor, we were watching, and Shame on you!

  • George

    Video feed was shut of during a five minute break after the activists sat in the middle of the room and security was called… the council did not want that observed…. they knew what was happening was very wrong….

  • George

    Question for anyone that watched last night.

    What did it mean when Anton was asked by Deal if she was referring to Parliamentary rule? It seamed to intimidate Anton.
    Can anyone educate me on that one?

  • Jason King

    Could somebody please put up a link to the video…I couldn’t find it on the city’s website.

  • George

    Sorry I don’t have the skill to send the link but I called 311…. go to city of Vancouver page click council meetings for Nov 4th on agenda and minutes, on the page that comes up for special meetings half way you will see video part 1 2 3 on the left…on the very bottom you will see south east false creek.. sorry I’m not good at this:( perhaps you can post it for me.

  • George

    Jason I meant page Standing committee of the Environment not special meetings

  • George
  • Bill McCreery

    @ Francis 10.
    The fact that you, understandably, as a dedicated reporter were not able to attend the Hall till 1 am also speaks volumes about the motives & conduct of this Council. It cannot be defended on their part.

    I cannot for the life of me understand their motivation. Surely they can see what this is doing to their re-election chances. They have 3 choices as of now IMO:
    1] Salvage what they can & start acting rationally & fairly, hope to get re-elected;
    2] Give up & ram through as much of their agenda as they can knowing the gig’s up next November.
    3] Give up & accept defeat but, conduct themselves responsibly until next November so as not to prevent the next Council from being able to responsibly continue to conduct civic business in the best interests of Vancouver citizens. In the case of OV they should not lock the City in to a final resolution of the contractual arrangements re: the various components.

    They appear to be on course 2].

  • Wow people are really upset that this Council conducted city business until 1 am. I am not a fan of Vision but I’m happy that they acted on getting a housing provider in place so citizens needing affordable housing can finally be accommodated as per the Olympic promise. I for one support politicians keeping their promises and if it took until 1 am to finally realize this that tells me that our elected representatives are doing what they are getting paid to do. While many writing here on Fabula’s blog to my shock do not seem to support this concept, this concerns me. It seems as well that getting people living at Millennium Water will assist in bringing some life to this new community and I think this is what everyone wants. For those upset that a late distribution report came in not allowing input from the public, I have to say the citizens had been consulted when we were given the opportunity to vote on hosting the Olympics and everyone knew that affordable housing was a promise made as part of the bid book toward hosting the world. Let’s move on now and work toward ensuring this new community becomes vibrant and a truly inclusive and sustainable community.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of The Evening

    “Shaggy Dog Cities attract the Shit Flies, the Bed Bugs and other assorted Parasites.”

    After reading Mike’s ‘notes’, courtesy of Bill, there is no doubt in my mind that Vancouver have become a Shaggy Dog City problem.

    The other day I went to see a psychic. I wanted her to do a reading. She said to me ‘Give me something!’. I gave her two campaign slogan buttons, one with ‘Vote Vision’ the other one with ‘Gregor for Mayor’. After 15 minutes of silence she looked up and said to me ‘I see nothing. It’s always hard to read the departed.’
    Oh, she’s good!

    Where should I send your Darwin, darling?

    “Are you living in BC?
    Want a Vision recipe?
    Get a Chicken and a Bee,
    Asparagus, smell your pee.
    Vee-jon – Bee-C!

    What organ of the body increases four times in diameter under stimulation? Take your time.

    With Gordon gone,
    It is quite clear,
    There’s one chair less,
    In Hell.

    Let’s all be up,
    And muse, endure,
    Move on to Junior…

    The Gods are pissed,
    For lack…of pick?
    Johns, Pimps, Harlots,

    Aphonic characters:

    From last night’s meeting. Extended scenes:

    In conclusion, Vancouver city badly needs a ‘Vision Off’ Day!

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • Michele

    Good havens!
    I didn’t have so much fun reading a commentary in months! Glissando, you are something hon!
    I’m moving to Vancouver.