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Social housing at Olympic village soars to almost double original cost

February 17th, 2009 · 7 Comments

That’s the latest fun news from city hall, as per this report that just got put up on the city’s website.

The cost of the 250 housing units has soared from the original estimate of $65 million to $110 million. Now the city is facing the question of what to do — put in millions more to try to be able to rent out the units for something that very low-income people could afford, sell it, lease it out or what.

Expect the debate to be fierce between the NPA and Vision on this, with NPA types saying that it’s a good thing they cut down the amount of social housing in the project, given the overruns, and the Vision types saying there are cost overruns because the NPA masters were terrible overseers of the project.

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  • Robert Russell

    If my math is correct that would work out to $440,000 per unit.
    Without a subside what will the rents need to be?

  • Brenda B.

    How curious the NPA are saying that it’s a good thing the amount of social housing should undergo cuts in the project, given the overruns, but are deafeningly silent on the close to a half billion dollar overun for their beloved convention centre.

  • hohoho

    Brenda B., are you actually Geoff Meggs? Because you seem to have memorized the Vision playbook:

    1. Blame the NPA for everything bad.

    2. Take credit for everything good done by past councils.

    3. Repeat often.

    Question: Who exactly is this evil NPA that you refer to? Suzanne Anton? And I didn’t know the beloved convention centre was only for the NPA, I thought it was built for the City of Vancouver? Please explain.

  • Brenda B.

    Dear hohoho:
    Best you stay with Dan the Scam and; Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

  • jaymac

    The report is most informative. Before throwing up, I had a fit of laughter in reading the last sentence which stated:

    “Careful cost control is necessary to prevent any further construction cost increases in both aspects of the City project.”

    Bear in mid that the report to Council has been prepared by those responsible for the project in the first place. Is it only now that they realize that “careful cost control” is a requirement.?

    How comforting it is to know that the M.D of Social Development, the G.M of Business Planning and Services and the SEFC Project Office are so enlightened. Boy, I’m so happy that I’m paying their huge salaries, potential severances etc. I can see that I’m getting real value for my $$$.

    Great to know that we are moving from LEED Gold to BLEED Gold.

    One notes numerous references to “Council approvals” for various cost increases. It’s hard to believe that no matter which Council was in power that these increases were not approved without (a) staff recommendation and support, and (b) some indication by staff that the $$$ could be found.

    It would seem that almost every line item for which there is a cost increase e.g high quality finishes (do they know yet that a dipped cone costs more than a regular?), increased floor area due to building form and no allowance for consulting fees and property transfer tax (do they think that consultants work for free and that there are no taxes?).

    This is a classic example of why cities should stick to implementing policy and leave the “doing” to contracted fully accountable parties.

    Ugh! Sorry, I just pewked again.

  • A. G. Tsakumis

    I vote jaymac’s comment, comment of the year on this issue.

    Suzanne Anton is an embarrassment. She claims that the NPA “knew that there would be problems with the Olympic Village’s costs (sic)…that’s why we cut down on the social housing component”

    Firstly, social housing should have never been part of this project, period. Imagine such overruns even in an up market! you’d still be in trouble.

    Secondly, perhaps our genius Councillette could explain then how if the NPA knew that the deal was oging south they didn’t say anything to the godamned taxpayer, who is footing this bill, and move to remove the social housing component, end of story.

    Lastly, why go ahead and guarantee the building cost if you thought there was an inefficiency to the bottom line? How were you protecting the taxpayer Suzanne?

    What a fool she has become, particularly on this issue.

    Pity, she’s capable of good work.

  • Glissando Remmy

    Ave Caesar morituri te salutant!
    I’ll tell you what. The only reason why we are in such a trouble is because the likes of John Furlong and his pals from VANOC @ comp. concluded not long ago and was seconded by ALL levels of incompetent governments that the Olympic Village MUST be finished on time. Why? Here’s the thing, we, the people of Vancouver were recently, nicely and effectively sodomized when VV- COPE -NPA council and Mayor bypassed us all and ran right into the arms of the more than fore played and willing Gordo with the request for more real estate ownership for the City.
    See, they all wanted to please the IOC Gods.Screw the people!
    Half a billion promised dollars later we own the damn thing. Therefore if I am not mistaken, now… I AM the owner of the Olympic village, together with YOU and YOU and ANY OTHER soul that pays taxes in the city of Vancouver and… NOT the athletes, or VANOC, or the IOC who surprisingly act like one. There! And you know what? I say, put the brakes on the whole project , preserve it, sleep on it and when the market is back we’ll make sure that we’ll get the right product for the right price. I would be more than willing to give up an extra bedroom for any of the athletes that would lack proper accommodation during the Games. Remember those days?
    To the people in office at the Vancouver City Hall I have these words: “The Emperor is naked!” YOU are the ONLY “developer” in this town willing to take such a risk and be so ignorant. The actual real developers are taking a break from it all and even make some savings during this process. Under your TUTELAGE and with OUR money! Think of the new communal parks and garden allotments for urban agriculture built on top of former Gas stations. Aaah, those radishes, heirloom tomatoes and green onions with a hint of benzene. To die for!
    But hold on a moment, these very Developers not willing to take a risk with their own money are sitting on the newly minted Mayor’s advisory committee so they could give their innocent and impartial views on how to spend “other people’s money” on a project they would NOT touch if their lives would depend on it.
    And then unlike in Dante’s “La Divina Comedia” there comes IOC’s Frere Jacques Rogge to tell us not to leave all the hope at the entrance of Hell but to be happy because the show must go on and that we all live in the real world and not in Utopia.
    Excuse me? The World is on the verge of collapse financially, economically and politically, Canada is at the beginning of a cruel recession and he is pushing for his pathetic Games? He is telling us what is important and what is not?
    Up yours, Messieurs Olympic connoisseurs, I know that up there on top the food is much better but the loneliness must be a killer.
    You are all a Psychopathic bunch and you know it.
    “The cost of the 250 housing units has soared from the original estimate of $65 million to $110 million”
    Anybody has a problem with that?
    If we can forecast a half a billion dollars Convention Centre and end up paying 1 billion for it (thanks Mr. Podmore, looking forward to your advice on the Mayor’s panel), if we can build a super highway so that the rich folks in Whistler can cut their travel by 15 min ( now please observe 1 min of silence for the Eagle Ridge Bluffs), if we can afford a Skytrain line that will cater to the employees of the YVR to downtown Vancouver (’cause you see, I don’t believe that the expected Winter Games World tourist after paying a modest $300 a night for a room and a couple of thousands more for Games tickets will say : “Oh ya, I’m gonna save on transit! Screw the taxis!”), if we are so STUPID or NAIVE to accept SECURITY costs estimated now at 1 billion dollars from 175 million (and if we do I’ll petition everyone to buy a cheaper Taser Gun on the black market and electrocute ourselves ’cause we deserve it ).
    So, what’s 45 million dollars extra for social housing, for our people, for our needs? NOTHING.
    It’s like one mosquito bite when you find yourself in the middle of the Indian monsoon season.
    The spin doctors associated with the Horrorlympic Games are working hard to deflect their horrific spending away from them and try to make ME and YOU feel BAD for something GOOD when in fact THEY are the ones guilty as charged.
    We will eventually host the Games because the historic facts tells us that in almost all cases the Fat Cats managed to convince the Skinny Mice that the mouse traps are good for them for their population control, body image and self esteem.
    Finally, the only good thing about the Games (that I can see) coming to Vancouver is that I may be able to ask a World renowned “skeleton” competitor what motivates them to put that sperm look a like costume on and then rush down the race track head first at speeds exceeding 130 km per hour. That I have to know!
    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy!