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ThinkCity says: Sell social housing at Olympic village

December 9th, 2009 · 16 Comments

As council awaits a staff report on what to do about the 250 units of social housing at the Olympic village, whose construction costs ending up soaring far beyond what a normal social-housing unit would cost, ThinkCity is weighing in with an opinion on this issue that echoes what others, many of them of a somewhat more right-wing persuasion, have said.

This is going to be a difficult one to sort out. If there was anything the previous COPE council wanted here, it was a social mix. The mix was already diluted when the NPA council came in and eliminated the idea of trying to make one-third of the units affordable.

This would pretty much eliminate all but the narrowest range of social mix at the site. It raises a painful debate for proponents of social housing. Obviously, just putting social housing always in the cheapest parts of town, yes, generates more units but then creates exactly the kind of concentration or ghetto that everyone — left and right — agrees is problematic. So what is the balance between trying to get a mix of social housing into a wider range of neighbourhoods without blowing the budget?

Obviously the best solution is when governments can get in before land values start to skyrocket and when construction costs are at a reasonable rate. It’s because of that that we have social housing in Kitsilano, including near the waterfront at Jericho, and in some other unusual parts of the city.

And then you build something nice, but not extravagant. However, it also needs to fit into the neighbourhood. It doesn’t do anyone any good for social housing to be instantly recognizable because it’s the worst-looking housing on the block. I don’t have a complete handle yet on why the construction costs went so high on this project — how much was construction-cost escalation, how much was nice touches to help it fit into the neighbourhood, how much was meeting the green goals.

But now councillors are going to have to make the painful decision on what ultimately is the best solution — social mix at a high cost or not?

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  • Bill Lee

    from the ThinkSink blog above
    “Another objection is the symbolism of selling social housing. It might send a message the city’s commitment to social housing is weak and set a dangerous precedent that future social housing developments could also be for sale.”

    And they are. The old phrase “You wouldn’t be comfortable living there” comes back to haunt those older tenants who were assured a location at a set or mildly higher rent.
    I remember it being used in a re (fur)-rubbishing 3 storey brick thing at Main and 25th.

    All part of the (relentless?) drive to gentrify the city towards the east.

  • Big Eagle

    Priorities Priorities.

    We can spend (throw down the drain) >1billion$ on boogey monsters under our beds, But when it comes to a few million for Social housing: oh my the cupboard is now bare.

  • Glissando Remmy

    The Thought of the Day
    “Fahrenheit 476 is the temperature at which Vancouver Vision’s Bullshit auto-ignites.”

    “We’re assessing that now and seeing whether there’s a better option that delivers more social housing for the same dollars in the same neighbourhood as part of our Olympic commitment,”
    (From “Gregor Robertson says social housing might be moved from Olympic Village to neighbouring area”, By Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight, Feb 21, 2009)
    The City of Vancouver may consider putting 252 units of social housing slated for the Olympic Village in a different area of Southeast False Creek… Oh really? Then how come this neighbourhood is too expensive NOW, but later and perhaps across the street it’s going to be NOT?
    By the way, NONE of those already built social units are facing the water. The initially 33/ 33/ 33 % are now 20/ 80 %; IF this Council scraps the social element then it is VANCOUVER’s “VISION” all around. An even number of ZERO!
    This Mayor is taking Vancouver people for idiots. It’s an insult to everybody’s intelligence to come with this kind of a statement 10 months ago and expect an open and honest public consultation now! He said it simply because it is part of his shtick; he knows where he’s going with this… it is not going to be any “later” social housing developed in the “neighbourhood” At least not during his term.
    Promise them anything, deliver nothing…later. Now, that’s a legacy anyone can understand!
    But wait, come 2015, the year when everything is going to be lottery affordable (that’s a promise I make) a year the VV gang picked out of thin air simply to Thai massage the average Vancouverite sucker that’s always in for a freebie.
    On a different note, under Robertson’s watch, earlier this year 224 units built in 1953 were “disappeared” at Little Mountain Housing Coop. Ok, ALL levels of government crowded at the trough! True. So, it seems that lately, our dear politicians are getting rid of this type of housing faster than a small time crook in Yale town is able to unload a dozen cartons of hot Marlboro cigarettes.
    TRUE LEADERSHIP would butter up the costs, admit that the old business model was flawed but had a social merit that’s impossible to replicate in the future. By doing that the present leadership may get back the popularity points lost in their first year and in the process, leave something tangible for the city; after all, one billion dollars is going to go into the black hole known as security costs…for this said Olympic Games.

    My bet however, is that they are going to guillotine the social element at the Olympic Village, which will effectively mean that they’ve shot themselves in the foot.
    At this point I don’t know which option I like more!
    What bothers me though, is the fact that while they are allegedly “opening” shelters around the city, they are cannibalizing the existing stock of housing, all in the name of good fiscal management.

    It must be tough to be a Bullshiter!

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • City Observer

    As it happens, I live in the most westerly housing co-op in the City. We’re teachers’ aides, freelance writers, mental health workers, and members of the disabled community.

    We add ‘mix’ to the neighbourhood.

    The children who’ve lived in our Co-op over the past quarter century, in a pretty darn great area on the Kitsilano / West Point Grey border, have all gone on to do some pretty tremendous things with their lives, achieving PhDs, chartered accountancy degrees, and professorships at east coast universities in the U.S.

    Would these children have done so well had they not gone to school with the children of our area’s “well to do,” children who provided them with both a role model for success and a peer group who just assumed placement and power in the society around us? Not likely.

    We don’t need a mix in housing on the Olympic just for the sake of saying we have “a mix”. We require social housing in the Olympic Village to provide a home for the children who need a sense of hope for the future.

  • In principle, city observer is right. However, that model (of idealism) does not work when you are talking about super luxury market housing. That’s principally what the OV development is as it sits on the most coveted piece of North American waterfront.

    The area you live in cannot be compared to the OV, so your comparison of one with the other, is not like.

    But I do applaud your thinking, and certainly your results.

    Social housing at the OV site was wrong from the beginning.

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    In my humble, inexpert and under-funded opinion, there is a simpler, more responsible, and more cost-effective solution to this whole issue:

    We should make the Athlete’s Village 100% social housing, and convert part of it to a satellite hospital.

    1.2 billion dollars – feds, province, city each in for $400 million – and voila! the epidemic homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues in Vancouver will be solved as soon as the torch gets snuffed.

    And it is announced while the eyes of the world are upon us.

    THINK about it.

    Federal and provincial infrastructure funding budgets are in the Tens of Billions; an obscene amount of taxpayers’ money. But there is no plan that exists at any level that would accomplish anything close to this for a mere 1.2 billion dollars.

    The current housing/health course set by the Province, and seconded by Think City, will surely take at least a decade, tens of billions of dollars, and exact a long, drawn-out toll of suffering while only accomplishing half as much.

    But this way, the bang for our tax bucks would be both instantaneous and accrue over time (for starters, think: inflation + Chudnovsky’s estimate on the homeless health care savings over ten years + 15 additional development sites within City limits to recoup on + not having to pay Bob Rennie’s commission). The fact that it is luxury housing is irrelevant in the context of these kinds of numbers.

    And if we are going to have any serious shot at becoming the Greenest City and solving homelessness anytime soon, it will take bold strokes like this, will it not? Going green means taking social responsibility, NOW.

    The legacy left would be Olympian, the PR potential limitless. Knighthoods could even be in the offing.

    Best of all, warm fuzzies would be felt around the world.

    And did I mention that billions and billions of taxpayers dollars could be saved over the next ten years? Money that could be better spent on other things, like business tax cuts.

    And that years of certain misery for thousands of people will be avoided?

    That’s all the legs of the stool, folks. That’s walking the talk.

    So, seriously, can anyone out there present a more sensible, ethical, efficient, health conscience and cost-effective plan?

    What on earth could make Vancouver look better than this when the eyes of the world are upon us AND in ten years?

  • I think it is ironic that there is a strong link between the two conversations currently taking place on this blog…the cuts to city programs and the decision on what to do with the Olympic Village social housing.

    I agree with the concept that we should not create low income ghettos. For that reason, I have been arguing for market condominium and rental housing in the DTES, and I support the creation of smaller projects accommodating lower income households that are integrated into other communities. City Observer has reinforced the value of doing this.

    The south shore redevelopment of False Creek confirmed for me the idea that when public land is redeveloped for housing, there should be a mix of incomes…it should not be exclusively for low income people (as were the first phases of the St. Lawrence redevelopment in Toronto) nor exclusively for high income people. (The city has often sold sites for top dollar, which were subsequently redeveloped exclusively with condominiums catering to higher income households.)

    If the city was not facing significant financial problems at the Olympic Village, and in many other aspects of its operations, I would have no problem accepting the 252 units of social housing remaining as housing for those in the lower income brackets.

    But the fact remains, for a variety of reasons, the city faces losses of tens of millions of dollars over the Olympic Village project. While these losses will not come out of annual operating budgets directly, they will reduce the Property Endowment Fund (PEF), and impact the future financial health of the city.

    For those who have not been following the more detailed financing of the entire South East False Creek development, one of the reasons the city is facing significant losses is that it had hoped to cover all the cost of the soils remediation, construction of the beautiful seawall walkway and bridge, the environmental features, parks, community centres, childcare, and some of the social housing costs from the revenues from the sale of the land offered for condominium development.

    However, two important things have happened. I am told the cost of all the public components, yes all… have increased, in some cases quite significantly. At the same time, there is a very real danger that the city will not receive all of the land payment it expected from the private developer to fund all of these initial costs, and cost over-runs.

    I am not privy to the City’s proforma setting out the costs and revenues. But based on what has been publicly said, Millennium was to pay $193 for the land. I suspect there is a danger we will not get all of this money.

    To make things worse, some people have suggested we may not receive any additional land payment, (other than a $17 million deposit which I’m told was paid). Worse still, depending on how well Mr. Rennie does with the condominium sales, we may not even get back all the money we have advanced to the developer to finish the building. (Yes, we could go after his other projects including Evelyn Avenue in West Vancouver and his proposed Davie/Bidwell project, currently going through rezoning, although I note this is being proposed by another related company.)

    Now I realize I am starting to sound awfully alarmist, sort of like the mayor and Geoff Meggs and Miro Cernetig in the past, but based on the estimated costs of this project, (Frances, I’m being told the construction cost alone for the buildings is in the order of $450 to $550 a square foot, which is double what Onni or other developers have been paying to build new condominium housing.

    As I have suggested before on this blog, a large part of this increase is attributable to form of the buildings and the ‘look at me’ design and construction features that were included so that we could proclaim this the most sustainable community development in the world!

    If you want to know what these feature are, costing hundreds of millions of dollars, just go through the sales centre and look at the fancy shading systems on the exterior walls, and ask about the never before tried in North America heating system, and everything else that we’ll be boasting about in Copenhagen, but I digress.)

    So my understanding of the current situation is that the city cost over-runs for the site development and community features are in the tens of millions of dollars, (this is in addition to the budgeted costs) and it is likely that we will not get all the money Millennium has promised to pay us for the land. Indeed, as noted above, there is a chance that we won’t receive any more money for the land, and if Miro Cernetig is right, we may not even get back all the money we have lent the developer to pay for the project.

    So it is within this context, and the context that I describe in the last paragraphs of this posting, that we must now make a decision on the future of the social housing.

    Before you finalize your position, you should also remember that not only is the Social Housing significantly over budget, and require tens of millions of additional dollars of further subsidies if it is to accommodate those in greatest need, IT IS PERHAPS OUR ONLY POTENTIAL REVENUE SOURCE IN SEFC TO OFFSET THE TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN POTENTIAL LOSSES.

    There might in fact be another zero in the loss column, but since I haven’t seen the numbers, and don’t want to be accused of being unnecessarily alarmist, I will just talk about tens of millions in losses.

    So for me this is no longer a philosophical discussion about the importance of keeping a promise, or the benefits of mixing low and mid and high income households in a community development. If we do lose a lot of money, then the assets and future revenue stream from the PEF will be reduced, and there will have to be additional cuts in future years.

    This is why I advocate at least trying to recover the costs of the social housing. I complement Think City for also coming to the same conclusion. I also thank them for sharing that it can be done in a way that does not compete unfairly with the market housing.

    And it can also be done in a way that will ensure some social mix, (and remember a former City Council did, at the last minute, give a bonus to Millennium to include some rental housing.

    The project is not just condominiums for the wealthy as Ellen Woodsworth and others have stated, and to be fair, almost everyone has forgotten this too.)

    By imposing sale and resale controls, it is possible to keep this housing ‘more affordable’ in perpetuity. (And yes, I realize $600,00 units are not very affordable for many, many people in the city, but they are more affordable than $1 million units.)

    By leasing, rather than selling the land, the city can retain long term ownership of the property. And by imposing a right of first refusal provision, the city could buy back units over time, as our financial situation improves, if it is deemed important to have an even broader social income mix. (Although personally, I would just build more cost effective units on adjacent lands. )

    In this regard, to respond to Glissando Remy, the reason that future social housing units on adjacent sites will likely not be so expensive is that they will not be built at a time of historically high construction costs…with lots of overtime payments to ensure they are finished by a certain date, and with many very innovative and never tried before features.)

    A final thought. Yesterday Alice Sundberg, the former head of the BC Non Profit Housing Association invited me to see a non-profit housing project that according to one envelope building consultant needs $100,000 per unit in repairs, due to water penetration. The residents do not have the money.

    The city and province claim not to have the money to help this low income group repair their homes. So I was being asked whether I could think of a creative solution that might involve selling the project to a sympathetic developer who might get a density increase and in turn re-build some or all of the social housing units along with some affordable market condominiums. As it turned out, I don’t think this is an appropriate or realistic way to proceed, but it might be possible to repair the building for $50,000 a unit, rather than $100,000 a unit. Nonetheless, this might still force out some of the residents, or indeed force out everyone for a while, depending what happens.

    My point is this. This tragic situation is not unique. There are hundreds, if not thousands of existing social housing units currently occupied by low income households that are in need of serious repair. Many are on land owned by the city in the PEF and leased to non-profit organizations. Soon the city is going to be increasingly asked to use the assets of the PEF to help keep the low income households in their units.

    So before you insist that the city keep these prime SEFC units as social housing, we should also think about those low income, single parent families, who right now are living in units just off Commercial drive, which are rotting and in need of repair.

    We should also be thinking about the petting zoo, and the Bloedel Conservatory, because they too are related to what we do at SEFC.

    The city needs to help a lot of unfortunate people who are currently living in deteriorating social housing, and yes, some who would be happy to be off the streets and living in any sort of housing. One way to ensure we can do this now, and in the continuing future, is to exercise good fiscal judgment when deciding on the future of 252 very expensive, but very valuable units in SEFC.

    SEFC is supposed to be a ‘sustainable’ community. While I am growing tired of the word, let’s come up with a fiscally sustainable solution to complement all its other wonderful and attractive features.

  • IanS

    It always struck me that putting, or insisting on, social housing on what has to be one of the most expensive developments in the City had far more to do with symbolism (ie. being seen to be doing something) than providing effective action on low income housing. I agree with the Thinkcity article that the value of those units would be more effectively spent on less extravagant housing.

  • Joe Just Joe

    My sources state the financial situtation of SEFC isn’t anywhere near as dire. I will await for the numbers to be made public though.
    I understand that the city looked at making a deal for the project at Broadway+Naniamo that would have involved more density in exchange for fixing the mess. It dropped of the radar though so I can only imagine they discovered something they didn’t like.
    What I’d like to see more then purposeful built social housing is better intergretion as has been discussed above. In market towers it’s always harder to see the bottom 2 floors, these could become non-market rentals with government patnership, ever tower also ends up with certain units that have limited market appeal either because of blocked views or ackward layout for whatever reason, these could also become non-market rentals. While this works only on large projects it would at least be something.

  • Joseph Jones

    City Council is about to twist itself inside out over the social housing component at SEFC.

    Meanwhile, about 11,000 people already live in the Norquay area of East Vancouver, 32% of them in low-income households.

    The big question is: Will the planning underway consider social composition and amount to more than mass rezoning – or will it just unleash development forces that destroy Norquay’s existing desirable balance, a balance that will never be achieved at SEFC?

    For “Norquay Village” to come into being, the city will have to make a contribution through the PEF-held 2400 Motel site. That would still be just a fraction of the resources that have been poured into the SEFC showplace.

    P.S. Check out this Norquay story just published by a journalism student at UBC:

  • Glissando Remmy

    “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall! All the king’s horses And all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again.”

    This could be easily my summation of the future of the Social Housing in Vancouver if Humpty Dumpty is kicked out of the Olympic Village. Legend: Humpty Dumpty = Non Market Housing in the Olympic Village.

    Few years ago I watched a comedy special featuring one of my favourite comedians, the Politically Incorrect Bill Maher. As the story goes, during a party he was attending he told some well manicured ladies “You know, those diamonds you are wearing are pure Evil. The traffickers in South Africa threaten to cut the kids arms if they refuse to mine for those.” To which one, looking with lust at her stone, was like “both arms?”… as if losing just one arm was OK. The moral, anyone?
    Lately, Vancouverites started to sound just like those ladies; it’s strangely and alarmingly becoming more socially acceptable to cut social housing in order to allow some rich lads and lassies to save some dough on their diamond condos. If we are so concerned about money spending where was the debate on the 1 Billion $ non refundable or ever justifiable Security costs for the Olympic Games? It’s for the athletes, Ladies and Gentlemen, for the athletes! O tempora, o mores!
    So, let’s recap, some people are saying that the 100% public funded project is all right to become the biggest real estate swindle in favour of the private interests of the rich, something unheard (yeah, right) in the history of this city. Wow!
    No wonder that China’s apparatchik approved Canada as a safe destination, they heard of the Olympic Village Fire Sale.
    Before I go any further with this let me give some “numbers” aka money spent on vanity and pet projects lately in the City of Vancouver:
    ONE :The VCC West, almost 1 billion $ for a brown roof, only seen from above and a big empty meeting centre that’s so close to Canada Place that simply trumps one another. Don’t get me started on the pedestrian experience in or around that place.
    TWO: Burrard Bridge Trial 1.5 -2 million dollars for Gregor cyclists friends;
    THREE: How much money in lost taxes from the “community parks/ gardens” full of weeds and dead plants, sitting on top of toxic soil, former gas station sites, through a simple loop holed tax shift?
    FOUR: Vancouver Vision’ Firing and Hiring spree that trademarked their first year in office with severance packages in the millions, leaving them no alternative but to cut off jobs.
    FIVE: Retrofit, re-carpeting, re-upholstering (see the 3R’s) of the Third floor, money, money, money, not budgeted and unaccounted for, but approved for, in the blink of an eye.
    SIX: Oh, I’ve almost forgot the BC Place’s New Roof. ½ billion $ approval for …frivolous sporting events. How on Earth were they able to cough this money so fast, eh? It’s absolutely disgusting to see how much attention these athletes are given. Unbelievable.

    The labelling of the social housing element as the scapegoat for the Olympic Village debacle is wrong; same as trying to portrait it to sound like another man-made CO2 scapegoat for the “Global Warming” hysteria.

    This is my “two pence” on the matter:

    Nobody needs to make a decision now. The Condo King himself doesn’t know when it will be safe to put his little project for sale. It will take some time for the units for sale to be retrofitted according to the initial design standards (ornamentation, painting, wood floors, appliances) which do not apply for the non market units, by the way. Keep the market/ non-market ratio the same; at least you have something to hang on. Don’t cheapen here!
    Bring the housing in that neighbourhood First and Then sell this units, if it is proven the best solution! If you think you can build faster, cheaper and in greater numbers do just that. First! But allow me to not believe an iota of it, for now, and I am talking only based on historical facts. The collective gas coming from Victoria, Ottawa and Vancouver’s head offices is nauseating. Show something, show me the money first! Then, sell those units “unsuitable” for the average Vancouver citizen, for profit, if you can! I didn’t know that only the Rich may enjoy the waterfront. And again, those buildings are not “waterfront”.

    On a different note let me say that nobody asked Mr. Mayor & company to take over a provincial responsibility (housing), but if he wants to wear the Big Provincial Guru hat, he at least has to show he is the bigger man. Tough luck with that!
    Do you want to find the money to save this project? Tell your friends at the City to hire a real human being not a heartless cyborg on this project and HE’LL FIND YOU THE MONEY!
    The question is do you really want to find the money Mr. Mayor?

    “In this regard, to respond to Glissando Remmy, the reason that future social housing units on adjacent sites will likely not be so expensive is that they will not be built at a time of historically high construction costs…”

    Michael,” likely” is a vague word that means “probably” as well as it could easily mean “never”.

    Your thoughts on the previous subject “Four new buildings for Vancouver’s skyline” comment were right on. Well said! For this one however, I cannot say the same, of course you are entitled to your opinions same as I am entitled to mine.

    Me too, I am tired of this ballet of words: sustainable, green, LEED, affordable, Zero net energy, solar panels, geo thermal, green roofs, Fuel cells, wind turbines, organic, natural, free run… nothing but empty “treat” words to which the lab rats that we have become are trained to respond by pressing the pedals.
    You get the right pedal, you eat; you don’t you get shocked; nothing but a bugged human experiment that I and others like me refuses to be part of. That’s all folks!

    We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

  • Art and Carol: cool, patrician, deliberate . . . he way back declared Vancouver, the executive city: she, a bankster now.

    An attractive couple.

    They spawned the current premier: not the person “premier”. The sort of ex parte definition. Yunno, sort of “screw you jack I’m inboard” sort of premier.

    I once sat with them at a NSA dinner: they to condescend I, with my pretty chica, for the eats. They didn’t stay for the frivolities, they stayed just long enough to show they love the poor too . . .

    I recently was in conversation with a young hotshot realtor: he a sort of lesser spawn of the ex parte definition. All he wants to do with his life, he told me, is “make money”. Huh, I doubt, with that attitude, he will have much of a life nor make money either . . . but I didn’t tell him.

    And that is how Vancouver became the place it is today . . . be interesting to see OV this time next year!

    You would not want to sit next to Art and Carol on the No. 10 bus!

  • Joe Just Joe…you should continue to promote the idea of scattered social housing units, integrated within market rental and condominium projects, as an alternative way of creating social housing.

    It is worth noting that Toronto’s Street to Home program operated this way for years…leasing units in market projects, rather than trying to develop purpose built projects. I suggested this approach for Vancouver but was told there weren’t enough rental units. That’s nonsense.

    It is worth noting that I first met Jim Green and Libby Davies when I questioned the appropriateness of the NPA requirement to put low income families into units on the Bayshore property. They agreed that a payment in lieu to fund social housing in neighbourhoods where genuinely low income families would feel more comfortable, next to suitable shops, community facilities, schools, etc. was a more sensible way to go. Eventually, this approach was approved, although I can’t remember whether it was a COPE council, or an NPA council in power. In those days, I didn’t pay that much attention to party affiliation!

  • Gassy Jack’s Ghost

    Circa 2003 we had the Vancouver Agreement, the Olympic Inner City Inclusive Commitment Statement, Woodwards was finally evolving, and the political will and financial resources were all aligned to deal with the social ills that had plagued Vancouver for so long. We were brimming with optimism.

    On the eve of 2010, the political will is gone, the resources have dried up, the Vancouver Agreement vanished, and the promises of the Olympic Agreement have turned into colossal failures. Don’t get me started on Woodwards… And on the streets, misery still reins supreme.

    We failed.

    Utterly, completely failed.

    And yet, with no semblance of a coherent plan in place, well-heeled people and think tanks still somehow expect the problems to be solved sometime in the next few years? Um, how exactly?

    We need at least 2,000 units of social housing and integrated, long-term care.

    We have an opportunity to do the right thing, to do it NOW, and to do it far cheaper and more efficiently than any five or ten-year plan (if we had one) could ever accomplish.

    Simply put: 1.2 billion dollars will seem like peanuts by 2020.

    I dare any bean counter to demonstrate that not to be the case.

    And yet, none of our erudite and well-intentioned intelligentsia will even engage this idea? Why?

    With all the historical references to great city planning being quoted, we still have no sense of our own history. Our context is petty (“the mayor is a bullshitter”) or myopic (“we’re going to lose money on the deal”).

    But the answer is staring us in the face. And we refuse to see it. Refuse to even acknowledge it.

    So maybe it’s time to admit the truth:

    Vancouverites don’t really care at all about social responsibility. We are not progressive, we are not world class, and we are not leaders at anything other than hyperbole. We are all special interest and bad math. We are not a community; we are a bunch of self-serving narcissists:

    “The most coveted piece of North American waterfront.”


  • Scott Parker

    I can’t help but suspect that every single time the city or a developer promises to build social housing (or a park, or….), it will end up being dropped later because of “financial difficulties.” I would lay even odds that Little Mountain will eventually be 100% market housing.

  • Scott, I’ll take that bet! I’ll even give you odds that there will be replacement social housing at Little Mountain. Because, Ned Jacobs and I will do everything in our power to make sure that promise is kept. And so will Jim Green, who I understand is working on the property for Holborn.