Three years ago at this time, the one-time Downtown Eastside housing activist was getting ready for what looked like, at last, a successful campaign to be Vancouver’s mayor at the head of the gosling Vision Vancouver party. As everyone knows, he ended up losing to Sam Sullivan by about 4,000 votes. There was a lot of talk over the three years about whether he would run for council or, for a few brief minutes of conversation, whether he should take another crack at running for mayor.
That flame was quickly extinguished and, a couple of years of pondering, so has any thought of running for council, says Green. That’s partly because he’s just too busy. Green is spending a lot of time in the Queen Charlotte Islands these days, where he is working at the CEO of the Misty Isles Economic Development Society, a newly formed group aimed at broadening the islands’ economy.
“It’s exciting because I live half the time in Haida Gwaii now,” said Green. He’s also been working with the Vancouver East Cultural Centre, which was successful in getting $9 million recently for its expansion — “my first great victory as a consultant,” Green jokes. He’s also working on a housing project with one of his favourite organizations, Bladerunners, which helps place aboriginals from the Downtown Eastside in construction jobs around the city.
Green says he doesn’t have any development work currently on his books. He had worked with both developer Rob Macdonald and Concord Pacific to pitch the city on Downtown Eastside projects, which asked planners for extra density in exchange for providing some social-housing units in the projects. Neither one of those has gone anywhere so far, although hints are that Concord Pacific — after having run into protests from DE housing activists over its project on Hastings — will come back with some form of the proposal Green helped develop. So then the city and the people in the Downtown Eastside who were critical of Concord for not providing social housing in its complex will have to decide if they’re willing to accept that new trade-off.