City recommends spending $32 million on social housing at Olympic Athlete's Village

Post by Mike Klassen in ,


The costly waterfront social housing will remain in SE False Creek

The City of Vancouver has filed yet another late distribution report on the social housing at the Olympic Athlete's Village. Here are the high level recommendations of the report:

  • All 250 units will remain as property of the City of Vancouver
  • 50% of the units will remain as "core-need" full social housing (1/2 originally promised, and a fraction of the number promised by the COPE/Vision council in 2005). Renters will pay below market rents based on their incomes
  • the remaining approximately 50% of the units to be occupied by households paying market rents which reflects the design, size and location of the units; with the tenants of the market rent units to be limited to households with a monthly income less than or equal to five times the market rent; with the operators focusing as much as possible on renting to tenants whose work is in Vancouver with an emphasis on those serving citizens of Vancouver in the areas of health care and public safety
  • Council approve an increase in the City’s permanent investment in the Olympic Village affordable housing of up to $32.1 million

The bottom line is Vancouver will be paying another $32.1 million for these social housing units, half of the units promised will remain as social housing, the other half will be provided as "market" units. Preferential treatment will be given to people who work in health care (doctors, nurses, hospital staff) and police, fire or ambulance workers.

Market rental units in the False Creek area are some of the most expensive in the city. A 550-sq ft 1-bed/1-bath unit rents for about $1300 per month. Well-appointed 3-bedroom units are on the market for up to $4500 per month and up. The social housing units are new, but plain. The location is just steps away from a new London Drugs, a Save On Foods, plus a government liquor store and the Mark James brew pub. It will be interesting to see what the final rents will be for these new units – which range from one to four bedrooms. The staff report is suggesting prices as follows:

  • 1-bedroom (640 sq ft) = $1601
  • 2-bedroom (906 sq ft) = $1902
  • 3-bedroom (1223 sq ft) = $2096
  • 4-bedroom (1480 sq ft) = $2368

Based upon maximum 20% household income on rent, a $96,000 income would be allowed a one-bedroom, and a $142,000 annual household income would be allowed to rent the four-bedroom. As pointed out last year, 345 members of the Vancouver police force earn over $100,000 per year, easily allowing them to get one of the 2, 3 or 4-bedroom units depending on where their salary tops out.

Other options listed on page 11 of the report are 3 b): Sale of the Buildings to an Institutional Investor(s) as Rental Buildings, and 3 c): Immediate Strata Sales of the Units. Where the City gets the money to pay for the social housing units is spelled out in the report, and it looks like all of Vancouver is kicking in for it.

The report states that the City must...

"commit $32.1 million in additional City investment to ensure that approximately 50% of the units can accommodate core-need households. The source of funding would be from a combination of: SEFC Community Amenity Contributions and Development Cost Levies; Affordable Housing Reserve; reallocation of City Wide Affordable Housing DCL’s; and reallocation of 2009-2011 and prior years’ Capital Budgets and Plan."

That $32 million is on top of the $30 million already sunk into SEFC by the Federal government through VANOC. Of the bills still to be paid by the City on the Athlete's Village project, the remaining will be paid off through a mortgage.

In order to provide the $32 million contribution it appears that the City will be drawing down from funds from around town in order to keep their promise of waterfront social housing. $4 million will be taken from Vancouver's $9.8 million Affordable Housing Reserve. That's over 40% of that fund just to pay for social housing units in Southeast False Creek.

Also, $7 million is being reallocated from City Wide Affordable Housing DCLs. That's money that would have been spent throughout the rest of the city, poured into False Creek. $14.3 million from the City's Capital Budget will be also used to pay for the social housing.

Looking at option "3 b" (selling for rental) the City takes a big bath. However, if the city chose to sell the units, which many have recommended (option "3 c"), Vancouver would net between $28 & $68 million! Just think of the opportunities for building social housing in other parts of the city with that fund.

Vision Vancouver simply will not stare down critics. As we've repeatedly stated, populist politicians like to make the easy decisions that in the end cost you most. Vision's decision to commit to waterfront social housing, instead of taking profits to build even more units across the city, is going to cost us millions.


This story juxtaposes quite nicely with the one last week regarding the average house price in Vancouver nearing the $1-million mark.

It's called a bubble, kids. Google it.

Yup it is a bubble and for sure Google it!

This stinks.

I love cops and firefighters, but must I subsidize them in False Creek condos!? Among the most expensive condos in Canada at $700,000 a unit???

This whole thing about needing first reponders to be in town if there is a huge emergency---pure bunkem! I want numbers. How many Vancouver police and firefighters and nurses live outside of the city? Most I know are already renting or have bought within the city.

We are subsizing the middle-class to live in these condos. Truly stupid. This is a "payoff' to union folks, Vision supporters, plain and simple.

Rent these places out at market rates---not as subsidized units to people who already make a great living!

Anyone who is paying $2,300 for a 4 bedroom is doing something wrong--they are throwing a ton of money down the drain. Go buy a house in Coquitlam, for Gawd's sake.

Sell these condos off and build TRUE social housing for LOW INCOME people

By the way, I rent on the West Side. Like the downtown peninsula, I am seeing many "For Rent" signs out here.

The only upside to this plan---it will drive David Eby nuts.

unreal, subsidized housing for people making between 60 and 100k. unreal

I thought the same thing about eby.

I am so mad after reading this I can't even begin to express my anger. Social housing for cops? You have got to be fu$$ing kidding. They reduce the overall number of social housing units for poor people, so cops and firefighters can live on the waterfront? I work in a low end job and I'm expected to subsidize a high end public service worker in order to help Vision with their social re-ingeneering? Disgusting!!

Frankly I would question the legality of the discrimination used against those in non-preferred employment. Something tells me this may be against the law, and should be looked into.

Would anyone like to join me in determining what type of violation to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, along with any type of Human Rights or Discrimination Acts this may be.

Is a landlord of any type, public or private allowed to discriminate by employer? That's very questionable.

By the time it works its way through various channels, it should be election time..........then we can see if Vision wants to continue their program or not.

So who's with me?

I like how they slipped this report in as late distribution, then hold the meeting to vote on it less than 48 hours later. Vision really are chickens, aren't they?

i am not a lawyer but I'm interested in helping.

I can understand your frustration Glen but I don't think it is the way to go. I'm not a lawyer but I don't think discriminating on the basis of employment is illegal. The only real solution is to toss Vision out at the next election and that won't happen unless a strong leader emerges who is willing to devote the time and energy to build a viable opposition. It will be a formidable task as the Left is populated with a lot of people whose full time job is to advance their agenda not to mention the financial support of the unions.

This is a big payback for Vision's unionized supporters. Full stop. Outrageous! I work for a living, but not as a "emergency worker" and I pay a lot for rent. Noboby has offered to subsidize my living on the waterfront. How can Vision get away with this!!! Is it possible to scream on this blog? Because that's what I'm doing now. I was not thrilled by these guys, but this is the straw that broke the back. I'm signing up for the NPA and will attend their annual meeting. I'll be volunteering to boot these buggers out of office and I'll encourage everyone in my apartment complex to do the same. Yes this was sneaky to put this in at the late hour. SCREAM!!!

You can expect the Vancouver Sun and other MSM will give Vision an easy ride on this one - AGAIN! Why do they choose to ignore what's going on at City Hall under these socialists? Oooops. I forgot, most of the MSM are closet socialists.

@ Glen Hall : "Is a landlord of any type, public or private allowed to discriminate by employer?".
Technically no, but don't kid yourself. Employer quality jumps off the page when you're checking references. A prospective tenant who works for the G or a law firm is going to beat one who works for a grocery store or restaurant every time.

Remember folks...

In "VisionWorld' some renters are more equal than others...

Just listing to McComb on CKNW:

1) Is this going to be a taxable benefit to the First Responders?

2) A caller points out that, in an emerg, first responders report to the closest facility to their home.

Ain't no running "straight" out to a particular area (that only happens in Shwartzeneggar movies). They will be dispatched as per usual, once they are organized. And let's not forget---there is regular staffing, right through 'Charlie' Watch.

2) this goes to Council on Thursday.

Do you think that chambers might be SRO for this issue ;-)?

Just sayin'...

uh if only people making over 90 000 a year can rent one of these so called low income rentals then what the heck is low income about THAT?
There are LOTS of cheaper rentals in the downtown going for that price and lower!
If this isn't for people making between 35 000-55 000 annual combined then I for one do NOT want to pay for this!
As a tax payer (and someone with a mere 50 000 annual combined income) I cannot even afford it, so why the heck should I pay for someone making over 90 000 ???!!!!!!
This is a great example of what is wrong with this city.

This is absolutly bull #%*@! Where is it written that doctors, nurses, firefighters MUST live on the waterfront? What a snow-job!
Sell the condos at market value and built social housing in more affordable lands. Simple!
They are trying to pull a fast one, this is outregeous!!!

Just imagine if Vision would have gone through with their plan to make 2/3 of the Olympic village as "non-market housing". They not only would have hosed tax payers, they would have given all of their friends and insiders a place to stay on the waterfront.

Anybody catch CTV news tonight? You'd think these guys are on some sort of Gregor love machine trance. There is never anything critical out of that newsroom on Vision. Hmmm? Why is that?

I'm having a tough time making my condo payments and I work as a first responder. Any chance I could get a subsidy from Mayor Gregor to help pay the bills? Otherwise I'll be forced to sell my $650K condo and move into a beautiful home in Walnut Grove and pay less property taxes. Ouch, that will really hurt.


Yeah, another suck-up story from CTV for Vision. What else is new? If these guys want to compete in the news market against Global (and Tony on CBC), they've got to do a lot better than Renu Bakshi's drivel tonight.

What a great idea, says Renu, to have housing for cops and nurses subsidized! A bridge might fall down. Give me a break.

What next, subsidized rentals for Vision friendly journalists? Better keep the construction crews on site, you'll need a few more units to accommodate them all. 125 won't cut it. Global TV, CKNW and News 1130 are about the only news crews that provides balanced coverage in this town. The others just spew out the mayor's hapless talking points without any critical questioning.

Hmmm. Perhaps I haven't presented enough "balance" in my previous comments.

Thinking, thinking...

I've got it! Councillor Jang can point out that housing these highly paid civil servants in taxpayer subsidized waterfront property (the Pride of Vancouver!) will actually provide additional economic stimulus to the City!

Here's the math: 4 firefighters or cops share a 4 bedroom condo at the Olympic Village. That's $2400 per month. So, each of these first class constables or firefighters, making $90-100K per year ponies, up about just $600 each a month. Think of the extra disposable income these dudes have, burning a hole in their pockets!!

Expect The Roxy to be a major backer of this plan...

I don't get the point of this.

What is the benefit to the first-responder? The city is planning to charge market rents. If a first-responder wanted to rent an apartment in central Vancouver at market rates, he/she could easily do so now (and most likely already is). There are hundreds of rentals listed on Craigslist. This is a search for "Yaletown" apartments...

What is the benefit to the city? There are hundreds of firefighters, police officers, paramedics, doctors and nurses on shift in the city at any time. Would a few more really make a significant difference? (Note that it's not realistic to assume a gain of 125 first-responders because the ones who would be interested in living in an apartment close to downtown are most likely doing so already. And those that do move in from outside the city will be on shift part of the time, so the net gain is reduced even further.)

I have been telling my kids for years, the gravy train is government. grab the brass ring in any way you can , politian is the top hog job, otherwise even a lowly position in any dept. will give you a life no ordinary working person can get, as a worker you are working to keep anyone in a govt. trough in the clover

The Thought Of The Day

“If this is not from the ‘Commies Like Us’ it must be from the ‘Accidental Nurse and the Holly Cocks Gents’ movie.”

Before you comment further on the subject you may want to have a feel for the story. Here, read on. It sat on my bureau, under a pile of scripts for more than a year and a half…


Fade in.
(Interior. Day. Inside one Olympic Village Condo Building, in front of the Apt. # 2010. Door is ajar. One Policeman, One Fireman, One Doctor, One Construction Worker. All in uniform. The red haired woman that sits in the frame of the door, inside of the apartment, is all smiles. So is everyone else. Her 3” pumps are complemented by a pair of tanned, long legs ending in a white miniskirt; a see through white coat buttoned in front, a visible 36DD embroidered bra and a white cap. Red Cross logo on top. She holds a paint dripping brush in her left hand.)
Tomasz Stanko’s trumpet is playing in the background.


The Policeman (shades still on, two fingers salute): Maam!
The Fireman (clasping on to his red suspenders): Maam!
The Doctor (playing with his stethoscope): Maam!
The Construction Worker (holding on to his yellow helmet): Maam!
The Nurse (licking her red upper lip): How can I possibly be of any help to you gentlemen!?
The Policeman (lowers his shades): I heard a suspicious noise coming from your condo, Maam!
The Fireman (letting go of his red suspenders): I smelled gas coming from under your door, Maam!
The Doctor (leaning over to her ear and whispering): It was part of my Family courtesy calls, Maam!
The Construction Worker (yellow helmet on): The Super told me you might have a leak, Maam!
The Nurse: So, how come Boys that you are all here together at the same time!?
The Policeman (shades back on): I’m in #2008, Maam!
The Fireman (scratching his hairy chest, visible through his unbuttoned shirt): #2009, Maam!
The Doctor (hands inside his white coat pockets): Right across the hallway in #2011, Maam!
The Construction Worker (looking down at her legs): Just moved in, #2012, Maam!
The Nurse: Oh, how rude of me. I’m Devon. Can I offer you ANYTHING!?
The Policeman (shades off): To Serve and Protect, Maam!
The Fireman (humming on the Doors tune): Light My Fire, Light My Fire, Maam!
The Doctor (looking at her cleavage): I took a Hippocratic Oath to cure pain wherever I see it, Maam!
The Construction Worker (lollypop in his mouth): The Piping Chiropractor at your service, and yes these boots are steel toed, Maam!
Devon: Well, come on in. Watch your step. I hope you have got protection, Gents. I was in the middle of interior decorating!
ALL in unison: Don’t worry, Maam, we are professionals!
(On the way in, one of them asks):
“So are you a nurse then, Devon?”
Devon (stops, turns around, winks sensually): Nope! But I could be anything you want me to be Boys! That’s why I bought in here. No one care about what you do or who you do. It’s soo money!

(As we see them all entering the unit, the camera zooms in on the 2010 number on the door.
On the Tomasz Stanko’s trumpet deep sound,


Fade Out to Black.

There. Hopefully, I answered out some
questions here. If not, tough, eh? What did you expect, you know that…

We live in Vancouver and this keeps us busy.

What happens if I get my place as a nurse and then I loose my job or quit a year later. Do they kick me out? That sounds pretty American to me.

Maybe I will have the option of going on EI and qualifying for one of the subsidized units. Then I can sit on my balcony, tend to my community garden, look at Cambie Bridge and watch all those suckers pedalling and driving across the bridge to work every day to subsize me.

Why are these high paid civil servants not paying 1/3 of their income for rent. It would give the city more money and it would be consistent with the rent for low income social housing formula.

1/3 of $1,000 = $ 333
1/3 of $5,000 = $1,666
1/3 of $10,000 = $3,333

By any stretch of the imagination that would leave an incredible amount of disposable income for the civil servants. Why should civil servants pay 20% rent and the poor pay 33.3% rent as per the above formula.

What next, subsidized rentals for Vision friendly journalists?

Apparently you all missed the story about bees on the roof of city hall that were going to be run by Alan Garr, head of the Vision propaganda team.

Condos and roof tops are all fair game for vision to give to their friends.

So, to put this in perspective, the city is now going to spend $62 million in subsidies ($30 from VANOC and $32 million from other sources) rather than receive up to $66.8 million which is what it estimates could be received if the units were offered for sale. That’s right, in order to accommodate 126 core needy households, and 126 market renters, we are spending $62 million, instead of receiving $66.8 million. That’s a difference of $128.8 million. $128.8 million.

This is wrong! And I’m very disappointed with the staff for not giving the Councillors a fair description of the options, including the option of a sale of units as leasehold with conditions similar to the Whistler Housing Authority Olympic Village and Verdant at SFU.

Hopefully some Councillors will ask staff some tough questions when the report goes to Council on Thursday. However, I appreciate the decision has been made. As France Bula just stated on CBC, the Mayor has already announced his agreement with this approach. I suspect the decision was made before staff wrote the report. What an unfortunate situation.

ps If anyone is interested, I have set out other observations on this staff report on my blog.

It's pretty outrageous this is happening, what a huge waste of an opportunity for this community to turn into a real neighbourhood for a range of living situations! My husband and I live in a co-op downtown, near this development. Our Board hosts several orientations filled with desperate FAMILIES! They are not poor particularly but cannot afford crazy rents and need larger housing than one or two-bedroom condo sized units. The most common unit request, 3-bedrooms! We were really hoping this project would create more access to these units. Alas! The real issue here is the stunning lack of family housing (I mean proper family housing, not squeezing into one bedrooms with 'flex' space for a nursery). The truth is the City does not want families and was not prepared for them to stay in the core like they have, no matter what they say. We are expensive but you know what, we're here and they better deal with it. Alot of the 'loss of First Responders' to the outlying neighbourhoods happens exactly because they have families, and then can't find the space! Why don't they try filling the condos they have downtown first, provide these larger units to families through some sort of program (co-ops work pretty well!) and then see what happens. If there really is a problem with housing First Responders in the city, deal with it head-on, rather than sacrificing much needed, wide-spectrum housing like this. Infuriating!

Before 1989, ALL former communist countries, the militcja, the secret police, the high ranking party members, the army militars, the medical personnel, and the corrupt judges were given a large number of privileges.
Central accommodation, service cars, specialty stores acces, free holiday packages, passports ...
That bought the Leader Communists loyalty, spies enforcement power in case of dissent. You all know outcome. Vancouver Vision and their Leader Man Robertson are only showing us their first playing card in a series of perks they are hand out to some categories of people hoping they are going to get electorate to vote their way. What a nightmare. Defect commnism from Eastern Europe, get to Canada, communists moved here!!!

where is the tipping point for all this socialism? One side of the population has figured out that working and paying taxes is for losers. The remaining taxpaying 'losers' are asking themselves why do I bother working just to see people take my hard earned dollars to go to those who choose not to work and in return get free/subsidized housing, welfare, food and clothing and a free pass on contributing to society?
Ask anyone in VISION how much more money they need for any of these social programs - the answer is and always will be MORE!

You got it wrong buddy. If those people were the WORKING POOR or on SOCIAL ASSISTANCE then I would understand the rational for subsidizing them. We are after all people not animals, aren't we? However,this whole new plan shouts “Perestroika” it’s laughable. Once the doors to this kind of practices are open, there is no way of controlling the favoritism and/ or the bureaucratic corruption. Mark my words. As far as I am concerned, the high echelon Manager with the city… could rent in there if they could find someone, in the right bracket ($100,000) that works in one of the mentioned categories to rent it out for them. Why not rent them to Iraq/ Afghanistan veterans too? No wonder Slovak Jurek -one of the commentators here (good that his post is here otherwise I would have copy/pasted from Bula's site) is freaked out, and for good reason. I would be too if I would have his/ her perspective. But more than anything I am disgusted, and embarrassed for there are people out there caught in the middle of all this debacle in need of accommodation and they are not going to get it because their income is not…high enough. IN other words too poor to be on the “water”. Geller’s post (sorry Michael) is also self serving (oh look at me how clever I am, how full of ideas I am, bla, bla) Yes we know that,all right, remember the Little Mountain shame and “reunite them with their families” quote?
The Olympic Village will end up catering to the Chinese underworld and served by expensive whores anyway. Glissando in THE SUBSIDIZEABLES is laughing at us and not with us. Way to go my friend. We deserve it! And then again maybe it’s a good thing to have the police, firemen and the paramedics all in one place. It will cut out on travel time to attend the shootings. Now you all take care.

When the average household income in Vancouver is under $40k and the average 2 story house is $980k...I would have to say we are all the 'working poor'! Where is MY subsidy?
The municipal government should simply stay out of the housing market - no good will come of this.

are you on crack? I work as a FF and live 1.25hrs east of the city as I have a family and 3 kids....
Who the hell can pay (starting at 1600 up to 2400) per month rent...(your figures are way offf...I "gross about 70,000 /year = and make no aplologies if you think this is a lot to run into burning buildings / homes / grow ops - and attend too many funerals of guys dieing of cancer due to the exposure this job offers...even the small fires and toxic car fires..the diesel in the halls doesnt mean there is a rippin house fire everyday (but there was today watch the news tonight)
anyways on my measly income giving 2 cheques to rent a couple hundred sq ft isnot going to fly -- and I am curious out of the 800 firepersonnel if 5 will be in there? The police dont make much more - although they can get much more OTime....i cant speak for them...but I agree with everyone about putting social housing somewhere where the realestate is cheaper - thereby getting many more units of housing for the same dollars....I am sorry but your co-ops and social housing does not need to be water front....and please dont patronize me by suggesting that you are subsidizing my housing...I work my ass off with 2 jobs to make ends meet and pay my taxes and kids sports and everything else....bring on the 5cents per litre carbon tax increase july 1 / hst / and in a couple years the port mann tolls...and I wont accept your subsidy then either...I am too ferociously independant and work too hard to be in this category - that I have no idea who came up with this rental plan anyway...I am sure the strata fees if owned are another 400+ / month; so if any of us there it would be likely renting only....and shit cant even get a backyard chicken there for the free eggs!? This is obvioulsy getting alot of "comments" on this propaganda site too which is humoruous in itself - as I havent heard anyone talk (at my job) about seriously wanting to live there.... so all you "mis-informed" people should do a little more research (talk to cops / ff / ehs - before even thinking we will take this supposed subsidy... which I am not sure it even is a subsidy..arent rents 1600- 2400 anyways downtown condos?

lets not forget about how fast these were rushed to completion too....I'd be curious on the finishings / mouldings overall quality...& everything else too....and how they look in a few the city though in the original idea to salvage the plan and financing in the project for the olmypics too...but lets let it make the maximum dollars it should as originally intended....where is bob rennie in all this realestate speak...

Check out!

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