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One taxpayer’s suggestion for the Olympic village

January 12th, 2009 · 15 Comments

Should be lots of fun today, with a public council meeting scheduled for 2 at city hall on the Olympic village. I’m sure Suzanne Anton is practicing her punches right now, with coaches on all sides. If I’m not mistaken, it will be available to watch on the city’s website, so all of you who still have jobs can watch from your computer screens at work.

Much hinting that the province is going to get involved, which I think was the point of the whole news conference on Friday — to prod them into it.

Anyway, I had this letter forwarded to me from a reader, Peggy Watkins, with her suggestions about what to do with the village. Maybe some developer/architect types can weigh in on whether this is even an option, given the state of completion of the design work.

Dear Mayor and councillors,
The latest financing crisis for the Athletes’ Village should be taken
as an opportunity to rethink the future of this significant
development. Let’s get back to the drawing board and create a really
interesting, vibrant and livable neighbourhood.

The economic conditions have changed significantly since the project
was originally developed and building began. To say the least, the
luxury condo market has softened. But instead of seeing this as a
problem, let’s see it as an opportunity to go back to square one and
rethink and revitalize the plans for this community after the

Let’s put together ideas from city council, staff, housing and
community groups and the public and come up with a truly visionary
concept for this area’s future. What I see is a truly mixed and
vibrant community. To achieve this we need three types of housing;
co-op and social housing, low-end market housing and market housing.
The co-op and social housing could easily be built and operated by
existing agencies. The low-end market housing would probably need a
new program that would allow modest income households to buy a home by
supplementing down payments or providing mortgage guarantees. A small
number of the housing units could be set aside for market housing.
This community would also need amenities such as community centre,
library, daycare, parks, art and live performance spaces, etc. This
vision should be realized through partnerships with the provincial and
the federal governments and community agencies.

Let’s use the challenges we face with this project as opportunities to
build a truly vibrant, diverse and cosmopolitan neighbourhood. Let’s
build a vision and create a community that will become an important
part of the fabric of Vancouver life.

Peggy Watkins
Vancouver BC
V5N 1G9

Categories: City Hall Talk